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Thursday, October 11, 2012

ESPN Chicago: Changes inevitable in Hawk-Stone pairing?

Nehrubarb!

The icy relationship between Chicago White Sox broadcasters Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and color commentator Steve Stone have some believing that changes down the road are inevitable.

The on-air disconnect between the two partners, who have been broadcasting Sox baseball for four years, has led to some less than stellar broadcasts.

The bridge between the two veteran announcers became most apparent to viewers when Harrelson periodically shared the booth with former broadcast partner Tom Paciorek, who sat in for Stone on predetermined days off. Paciorek and Harrelson were broadcast partners from 1991-1999.

It was evident that Harrelson had more in-game discourse with Paciorek than he had most of the time with Stone during their broadcasts. At the end of the eighth telecast between the two former partners on Sept. 17, Harrelson said, “Well Wimpy, you were nothing but good luck for us this year. We were 7-1 when you were here.” That comment, although innocent in nature, was a red flag to some listeners. It showed Harrelson not only enjoyed his broadcasts with Paciorek but that he was keeping track of his former broadcast partner’s appearances.

...Sources told ESPNChicago.com that both broadcasters have met with Sox officials about putting out a better combined broadcast in the future. With the Sox in first place for most of the season, ratings were up on Comcast (2.3 rating in 2012 and 1.8 in 2011) and on WGN (2.4 and in 2.3).

Repoz Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:53 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, white sox

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   1. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4263391)
Pleaseletstoneycomebacktothecubs, pleaseletstoneycomebacktothecubs, pleaseletstoneycomebacktothecubs...
   2. Cabbage Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4263638)
You want Stone back? I'm not sure. He used to be really good, but you've got no guarantees when bringing someone back after all those years. His work with the Sox, even if hampered by Hawk, wasn't spectacular. And I doubt Stone's forgotten how he left the org.

Also, I'm perfectly ok with Brenly. He really sucked for his first half season or so, but he's got an easy enough voice, knows when to shut up, and has a pleasant banter with Len. Nothing about the TV broadcast bothers me, and I don't see any need to breakup perfectly good chemistry to bring back an old voice who used to be good. We might get stuck with another Pat Foley situation.
   3. zonk Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4263676)
I'm not sure either -

Stone remains my favorite color man, but he can tend to be a bit... preachy, I guess. Maybe I'm just over-remembering the final days when he seemed to be broadcasting more with a chip on his shoulder. When Stone was really good, he was just patiently explaining and suggesting - and he's actually pretty good at that. When he's not so good, he sometimes sounds like a BBTF thread on GMs -- "everyone is an idiot but me".

I guess I'm with Cabbage... I have no desire to see a booth change on TV. I suppose I haven't truly warmed up to my namesake on the radio side yet, but I would imagine that's a step down for Stone.
   4. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4263706)
When he's not so good, he sometimes sounds like a BBTF thread on GMs -- "everyone is an idiot but me".

To be fair the GMs for the teams he's broadcasted for could easily fit the description of being an idiot.
   5. SteveM. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4263729)
I love Stoney. I am quite happy with Bob Brenly, who has great chemistry with Len, but if Bob goes to Arizona, I am perfectly happy bringing back Stone. To some, he is a reminder of the bad days with with Chip. To me, he is a reminder of better days with Harry. (Yes, I am old.)
   6. just plain joe Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4263743)
To me, he is a reminder of better days with Harry. (Yes, I am old.)


I agree. I don't watch the Cubs as much now because they moved most of the games from WGN to their RSN, but I thought Stone did an excellent job with Harry. Especially toward the end, when Harry started to lose quite a bit off his fastball, I thought that Stone kept the telecasts from completely falling apart. Yes, I'm old too.
   7. Spahn Insane Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4263753)
Pleaseletstoneycomebacktothecubs, pleaseletstoneycomebacktothecubs, pleaseletstoneycomebacktothecubs...

For the love of god, no. That curmudgeon's burned every bridge on the north side he could've (so I don't think he'd want to come back anyway), and he's an insufferable know-it-all these days generally.

Then again, I hardly ever watch Cubs games except on those increasingly rare occasions when I'm at the park, so what the hell do I care.
   8. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4263769)
6 - i agree. i've more mixed feelings about his wsx time, based on limited viewings.
at minimum, though, he was great in his prime.
   9. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4263793)
I would trade Brenly for Stone in a minute. I'd also trade him for Jeff Stone, Joss Stone, Oliver Stone, Sharon Stone, or Emma Stone.

Particularly for Emma Stone, but that's not really a baseball decision.
   10. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4263833)
I'm with retro. I'm perfectly happy with Brenly and have no interest in getting Stone back.
   11. Dan The Mediocre Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4263862)
I'm with retro and Moses. Brenly has gotten a lot better and does a good job with Len. Stone, since his departure, has become pretty bad. Maybe some of it is him being with Hawk Harrelson(who I can't stand) but he doesn't seem to be the same broadcaster he was when he was treated unfairly by the Cubs team. If Steve Stone from early 2003 could be brought here via time travel, then it becomes a much different matter.
   12. Brian C Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4263926)
Even I've gotten to like Brenly, and I thought he was a hideous bore for his first couple years. Now, though, he and Kasper have grown to be a pretty good duo.

If Bob leaves, I reckon Hollandsworth is next in line, who reminds me a lot of Brenly in his earlier days with the Cubs. He says a lot of super-obvious things and relies too much on locker-room cliche instead of analysis. Brenly's gotten away from that, and has learned to talk more about the actual perspective of being a player or coach, as opposed to repeating the same crap that players and coaches say when they have a microphone stuck in their face on a day-to-day basis.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4264034)
Hawk-Stone was pretty much guaranteed to be a disaster. I caught some of him with Ed Farmer on the radio that 1 or 2 seasons and that seemed OK, more like old Stone. But, yeah, once Dusty and the boys got all pissy, Stone kinda got all superior pissy back. Can't blame him in some respects but the pissiness seemed to keep coming after he left the Cubs.

Still pair him with the right pbp guy and he'd probably be good again. Arizona is probably his most likely destination.
   14. bobm Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4264115)
He gone.
   15. zonk Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4264117)
I think people might as well prepare for the return of Mark Grace...
   16. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4264134)
Talk in Phoenix is, the Dbacks are willing to dump a Brink's truck of cash on Bob Brenly.
   17. Cabbage Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4264296)
I really do like Len and Bob, but in a perfect world we'd get a Pat Hughes solo simulcast.
   18. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4264344)
Stone said he was returning "100 percent" returning to the Sox this year after a talk with Reinsdorf, wanting to return the same loyalty that Reinsdorf showed him. He had waffled in previous interviews, so I took the absolute nature of that statement to be meaningful.

Of course, he said it on The Score, and ESPN properties are loath to acknowledge another media source, so I wonder if this account is late/incomplete.
   19. asinwreck Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4264535)
I hope this ends with Harrelson being reassigned to almost any other job in the world. The execption, of course, would be as GM of the White Sox.
   20. madvillain Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4264571)
Stone said he was returning "100 percent" returning to the Sox this year after a talk with Reinsdorf, wanting to return the same loyalty that Reinsdorf showed him. He had waffled in previous interviews, so I took the absolute nature of that statement to be meaningful.

Of course, he said it on The Score, and ESPN properties are loath to acknowledge another media source, so I wonder if this account is late/incomplete.


Yep, I was thinking the same thing. Stoney might have some inside info on Hawk. Hawk should be put out of pasture and I think this season took alot out of him. He was brutal in September, absolutely brutal, and I'm one of his biggest defenders.

I can see where they have Hawk work an extremely limited schedule, like 20 games, and find Stoney a new play by play guy.

I'm not a huge Stone fan, he's like vanilla ice cream but that's not exactly a bad thing when you have to listen to him 162 games a year.
   21. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4264668)
Hawk is only still around because Reinsdorf loves him, even (maybe ESPECIALLY) when Hawk goes berserk at a questionable call. I am betting he only stays around another year or so.

As for the North Side, I hope everyone stays right where they are. Grace needs to get his life straightened out; coming back to Chicago might be the worst thing possible for him right now.
   22. Brian C Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:33 AM (#4265734)
Grace needs to get his life straightened out; coming back to Chicago might be the worst thing possible for him right now.

Plus, he's a really crummy broadcaster. Frankly that worries me more than his personal problems. Even if he sobered up and flew right, I still wouldn't want him doing Cubs games.
   23. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4265799)
Something has gone wrong in the world if Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone are having issues, and people assume that Stone is the one who's leaving. Hawk should be fired, stripped naked, and paraded through the streets as people throw #### at him. And then killed. Slowly. Painfully. On YouTube.
   24. Eddo Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4265875)
Only somewhat related, I'd like to point out that I've grown to like the Ed Farmer/Darrin Jackson radio combination quite a bit. I think Stone improved Farmer while the two were together, and then Jackson was more comfortable with Farmer than he was with Hawk.
   25. Tippecanoe Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4265885)
stripped naked


Please, not this.
   26. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4265909)
I agree with Eddo. Farmer and Jackson, who were each terrible before they became partners, have a terrific rapport and present a very enjoyable, informative broadcast. We're lucky enough to have three great broadcast teams in Chicago (Hughes is so good that he makes Keith Moreland tolerable). The best thing about Stone and Hawk staying together is that there is only one broadcast team in the city that I have to avoid.
   27. Moses Taylor, Moses Taylor Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4266033)
Hughes is so good that he makes Keith Moreland tolerable

Hughes is great, but I can't stand Moreland. And the inning where Pat takes off is unlistenable.
   28. Brian C Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4266175)
I didn't listen to the radio much this past year, but Moreland seemed ... tolerable is a good word, I guess. Not really adding anything to the broadcast but not making me want to turn it off, either. So Charles S. pretty much nailed the dynamic there, I think.

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