Fittest loser
Article updated: 10/11/2012 12:00 PM

Discomfort to continue in White Sox booth

Finding a teammate in the booth for White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson has been difficult over the years, but Steve Stone will be back again next season.

Finding a teammate in the booth for White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson has been difficult over the years, but Steve Stone will be back again next season.

 

Associated Press

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Steve Stone ended the suspense Tuesday morning on WSCR-AM by announcing that he'll return as game analyst on White Sox television.

Wow, this should be interesting considering that Stone and play-by-play man Hawk Harrelson combine for such an uncomfortable listen.

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If these two veteran baseball guys enjoy each other's company they sure have an odd way of showing it.

Sometimes Harrelson and Stone give the impression they're giving their impression of what Obama and Romney would sound like teaming up on a broadcast of the economy.

Stop now, boys!

I'm not hearing the camaraderie, interaction and humor a baseball broadcast should feature. Many Sox fans I talk to like Harrelson and like Stone but add that they don't necessarily like them together.

Ah, but Harrelson learned a couple of decades ago that he has as good a post-playing job as he could hope for in baseball, and Stone apparently recently realized the same thing about his job.

Harrelson is the harder of the two to partner with, though each respects his own knowledge of baseball so much that each often comes across as having invented the game.

With the unwavering support of Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Harrelson has no qualms about being whatever he wants to be on the air.

Finding a teammate for Harrelson has been difficult. Tom Paciorek didn't fit when he was the regular analyst. Darrin Jackson didn't. Now Stone doesn't.

My personal take on this is that Harrelson himself was willingly dominated as Sox analyst beside play-by-play man Don Drysdale. He had so much respect for Drysdale as a pitcher, broadcaster and man that he deferred to him.

When Harrelson became the Sox' play-by-play man, it was almost like he felt empowered to be the broadcast's first and last word.

Remember, all that is merely my own analysis -- psychoanalysis maybe -- as someone who has listened to White Sox and Cubs television teams going back to the 1950s.

Neither Paciorek nor Jackson could be himself next to Harrelson. Now Stone appears to be chafing in that role.

One could imagine Stone squirming like a lot of listeners do at all of what have become Harrelson clichés like "can of corn" and "he gone."

Sorry, Hawk, but it isn't all good.

I feel like screaming "No mas!" every time Harrelson screams "Yes!"

No broadcast is very good when a listener knows what the announcer will say before he says it.

Stone also seems uncomfortable when Harrelson goes off on an umpire, umpires or umpiring in general.

And how must Stone feel about the Sox' homerism that Harrelson is so proud of but that gets in the way of a professional broadcast?

Harrelson is one of those polarizing figures that people either like or dislike but rarely are neutral about.

As usual Reinsdorf believes here what he wants to believe, which is that Sox fans like Harrelson and non-Sox fans don't.

The truth is that even among Sox fans there's a split on Harrelson, which isn't healthy for a team having trouble attracting more customers to the ballpark.

Look, Stone might not be the easiest partner to get along with either at this stage of his career, but his Tuesday announcement means that he and Harrelson will have to get along with each other better than they have been.

Like it or not, Sox fans, the game isn't "ovah" for this broadcasting team yet.

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