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White Sox announcer Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson verbally abuses another umpire

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was ejected in the third inning of Saturday's game against the Mariners. (AP)

Once again, homerific White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson is going after the umpires. Harrelson received a call from commissioner Bud Selig earlier this season after a rant and should be awaiting another after Saturday's rant against Lance Barrett.

After Jose Quintana's first pitch to Justin Smoak in the third inning of Saturday's White Sox victory over the Mariners, Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski started arguing with Barrett and was ejected, as was manager Robin Ventura. But it didn't take that long for Harrelson to go off.

From ESPNChicago.com, Harrelson rantings included the following:

• "I'll tell you this is absolutely ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous."

• "Lance Barrett has been absolutely brutal. Brutal."

• "Lance Barrett has just stunk the joint up is all he's done. That's all he's done."

• "He's terrible."

• "This is one of those games where the film is going back to the American League office to show how bad he is."

• "Everything that Blake Beavan has thrown up there that [catcher Miguel] Olivo has caught has been a strike. If he caught it, it was a strike. He's got two different strike zones. He's got a two-foot for Beavan, and he's got a 10-inch for the White Sox. What does that tell you?"

• "This might be as bad as two innings as I've ever seen from a guy behind the plate or 2 1/3 [innings]. So he's bad, so he throws out our catcher and our manager because he's brutal."

It should be noted, the call that started it all should have been called a strike. But the rest? Well, thankfully we have ways to review that.

From BrooksBaseball.net, here's the balls and strikes calls with Quintana on the mound on Saturday:

It appears he called three pitches in the strike zone balls and two outside the strike zone strikes -- so he got a net total of one on the "wrong" side of the ledger -- including the call that got Harrelson so upset.

As for the assertion that the strike zone was different for Beavan, BrooksBaseball.net shows Barrett called five pitches outside of the zone strikes -- but also five inside the zone balls.

Overall, Barrett was inconsistent with the outside pitch for left-handed hitters:

He had just one called strike outside of the zone against right-handed hitters:

The problem for Harrelson (and Pierzynski) was that those calls came early -- here's the chart of the calls up to the ejection:

If you listen to this video in this link, you can tell that Pierzynski agrees with Harrelson's choice of the word "brutal."

After the game, Pierzynski joked he was defending the honor of Chicago's signature dish, deep dish pizza. From CSNChicago.com:

Of course he's joking, knowing he could be fined if he criticized the umpires publicly. He's learned that.

Harrelson, on the other hand showed he hasn't learned any lessons. After going on a similar rant against umpire Mark Wegner on May 30, Harrelson got a call from Selig and a visit from White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Afterward he said, "It's not going to happen again."

Yet it did -- and nobody's surprised.

Barrett wasn't perfect, that's for sure, but calling balls and strikes is a next-to-impossible task. Barrett's zone wasn't textbook, doesn't look to be anywhere near unfair -- and that's something Harrelson couldn't say about himself.

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