Prior to the 2009 season, one would not be in error by labeling me a bonafide St. Louis Cardinal Hiney Bird. Having not really addressed our bullpen woes of 2008, I seriously didn’t think the Redbirds had a chance at achieving anything this season.
Obviously, I was wrong. And I’ve apologized for that.
I did, however, look forward to an exciting new edition of my neighborhood Chicago White Sox. And, yes folks, it does happen (albeit rarely): I was wrong… again.
But I have to go out on a limb and defend Kenny Williams from Chicago Tribune reporter Phil Rogers who blamed much of the White Sox’s 2009 downfall on the trades of Nick Swisher and Javier Vazquez.
To quote the Hawk: “That’s just B.S.! B.S.! That’s just B.S.!”
Nick Swisher’s 2008 stint with the Sox was abysmal at best. He underachieved in every category except rambunctiousness per game. He was a shackle on the Sox’s youth movement and rumor had it that he was more interested in picking up chicks in the Viagra Triangle than he was picking up runners in scoring position.
Javi Vazquez never looked comfortable in the Chi. Sure he’d get ya lots of strikeouts, but he also gave up a bunch of runs; and with Gavin Floyd and John Danks on the horizon of being dominating starters, it made sense to move Javi (and his paycheck) to make more room.
But sometimes things don’t always work out (see Sarah Palin’s “political” career). The ’09 White Sox have wallowed in mediocrity while the Cardinals are set to win the NL Central Division crown.
You see, dear readers, baseball is so captivating, so riveting, so followable because there is no such thing as a sure thing. So to all you Hiney Birds (me included) here’s a lesson from possibly the world’s worst broadcaster:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Dear readers, these are the things that keep me up at night:
- The St. Louis Cardinals
- Erin Andrews (click *here* to see why — Yum!)
- The destruction of our environment (click *here* to join me in my mission)
- Wal-Marts, Super Wal-Marts, and Super Wal-Marts Beijing Style
- Erin Andrews in a sexy bathing suit
- Flashbacks of the Malarchuk injury
- Jesse Jackson getting his n***s cut off — ooh, did I say that? Whoops. Hot mic! Hot mic!
- Bill O’Reilly
- Erin Andrews in a sexy bathing suit making out with Lucy Liu who just so happens to be wearing a leather body suit while wielding a whip
- White people
With all of these sensitive and sensitive subjects on my mind, I was grateful that my memory recounted a comment that was posted here at RSBS several months ago:
“When I need a nap, I usually tune in to a Sox broadcast. Hawk and DJ
work better than a handful of ambien and a bottle of Jack. Their actual
commentary goes beyond irritating, yet their vocal tones could induce a
Now it’s no secret that I follow the Sox very closely. And I have admitted here before that at times, even I, Fulbright Scholar that I am, find Ken “the Hawk” Harrelson and Darrin “DJ” Jackson’s over-the-top homerisms amusing; but if I really want to enjoy the game from start to finish, I turn on the radio and let Ed Farmer and Steve Stone call a sound game.
But it has been a long week, folks. Still recovering from myriad things I can’t remember from the 4th of July weekend and endlessly troubled by the aforementioned list of sleep-stoppers, I decided to take waltcproductions’ advice and turned the sound up on the television.
The Sox were in Kansas City to face the Royals. Buehrle v. Greinke. Potential for a pitcher’s duel. It was… though I wouldn’t have known it.
I nestled into my couch without a beer in my hand — shockingly, for the first time this month — and made sure I was comfortable enough to accept sleep if it so decided to fall upon my eyes. It did. I remember my lids getting heavy around the bottom of the second; Hawk and DJ were — surprise! — rehashing the ‘old days’ by talking about their .239 and .257 career batting averages, respectively. I remember thinking, ‘Gee, I’ve heard them say that before… about a thousand times…’
…but I was already long lost in a blissful land of somniferous slumber.
I woke up in the bottom half of the 8th to the roaring crowd of 29 people at Kauffman Stadium cheering on their Royals who had suddenly taken a lead, which inspired Hawk to grunt one of his trademark utterances: “Doggone it!”
Immediately, I hit ‘mute’, turned on the radio and listened to Stoney explain how a Konerko error combined with a less than Dotel outing for Octavio Dotel turned a brilliant Buehrle performance into a loss for the Sox.
At least I got some sleep.
You can hate Hawk and DJ, but don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Yesterday was a beautiful day here in the Chi. By the time I had cracked through my fifth 16-ouncer of Old Style, the high temperature had surpassed the 80 degree mark, I had already paid my respects to my late Grandpa Larry Hocker (U.S. Army) and all seemed well in the world.
Being the conservator of energy that I am, I stopped myself from turning on the air conditioner, even though it was quite balmy in my Southside apartment. In fact, I went to bed with the windows open, forcing myself to think about North Korea instead of the myriad troubles that boggled my mind.
And then… I was out. Cold.
And then… I was up. Cold.
Really friggin’ cold.
With goosepimples up and down my skin, I jumped out of bed and ran around the house shutting windows, all the time fighting a mighty wind that threatened me with a forty degree bite.
And today? 47 degrees was the average high. So much for global warming… how about global friggin’ freezing? The cold has been such a deterrent that I didn’t even bat an eye after the Astros jumped out to a 4 – 0 lead against the Cardinals in the first inning tonight.
I didn’t break one single appliance when Jonathan Broxton gave up the go-ahead run to the Cubs late in a low-scoring game.
And I didn’t threaten to kill anyone when Hawk & D.J. started talking about their ballplayin’ days (AGAIN) during the Sox/Tribe broadcast.
I think the cold has gotten to me. I think I should consider moving to a warmer climate. I think I might already be dead — existing solely as a ghost, haunting the drunken lives of Cub fans worldwide.
Okay. So I’m not dead, but until we see some May-like weather, consider me hibernating. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m all of the sudden not making sense. The Tigers are still terrible, the Yankees are done and Cub fans are still getting ahead of themselves. These statements would be true no matter how cold it is.
And though I know how difficult it may be, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I live in Chicago’s Southside neighborhood of Bridgeport. We’re
famous for being a pleasant, working class area made up of cops,
Mayor Daleys, Italians, Mexicans, Chinese and one Cardinal fan.
We don’t get a lot of press or recognition because we’re a quiet folk
who routinely go to work, pay our taxes and get raped by our government
because our leaders won’t make universal healthcare a top
priority. We do this because we have to, not because we love to. But despite the hardships, we tend to be quiet about them and
take joy in a simple stroll through the park or taking in a baseball
game. We don’t riot in the streets; we write our Congressman Dan Lipinski (who doesn’t really get
us because he’s Polish and they mostly live west of us). So
that’s Bridgeport. Imagine how exciting it is when we hear public
figures praise us for our work ethic, good manners and fantastic
This afternoon during the AM 670 broadcast of the White Sox victory
over the A’s, Steve Stone (one of Chicago’s finest) raved about a
Bridgeport restaurant called Ramova’s Grill.
My ears perked up and a smile cracked as Stoney’s caramel voice spoke
unyielding devotion to this Southside gem. He told Ed Farmer that
he went to Ramova’s for breakfast this morning and was tempted to order
the most famous dish on the menu: Ramova’s Chili.
This would’ve been a good time for Stoney to go on to a different
subject — like the hit and run or the squeeze play or Ed’s favorite Chicago
restaurant… anything would have been better than chili for breakfast because we were
all thinking what Stoney said next:
“I figured you and the guys would have a real hard time sitting next to
me in the booth and then on the flight to Baltimore if I had ordered
the chili. Whew. Wow. No, that… if I would’ve
ordered the chili, whew…”
No matter how old I get or how much wiser I may become, fart-jokes will always be funny.
But some broadcasters wouldn’t be able to deliver this type of bathroom
humor, or any humor at all for that matter, and get away with it.
I have already professed my allegiance to the greatness that is Steve Stone,
which explains why I think he is the exception, but there are some
White Sox broadcasters that people absolutely detest:
I point out Russell’s comment because this is something that has a life
of its own — a complaint that I have heard ever since I was a kid and still frequently today, even here in the Chi. I assume he’s referring to Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson
and Darrin “DJ” Jackson, the White Sox television broadcasters who seem
to anger all types of viewers, including White Sox fans. Harrelson
is known for his southern drawl and signature phrases like “He Gone!”,
“Duck Snort” and “You can put it on the booooaaaaarrrrrd, YES!” not to mention other favorites like “Sacks full of Sox”, “Big Hack, No Contack”, “Ball Four Base Hit” and “Dadgum Right”.
I find these catchphrases pretty amusing myself, but I know many people are infuriated by them. But why? Is it the fact that
Hawk is a no-holds-barred redneck with a voice that sounds like an out of tune trombone? Do people across the country think he is representative of Southsiders as a whole? Or is it that Hawk and DJ maintain an extreme bias against all things non-White Sox, sometimes going too far? I must admit, at times even I find their banter ridiculous, like Hawk’s recent third grade expletive rant:
“Doggone it ball. Stay fair! Doggone it! You dumb
ball. You dumb ball! Jeesh, you coulda stayed fair.” He said this after a Jim Thome foul
ball missed being a homerun by about four feet on Sunday. It’s just one example, but when you spend 3 hours saying things like this during a broadcast, I can see how people might be ticked off — like these guys, who are trying everything in the world to get rid of him. Russell, if you want to get really angry, spend a few minutes reading this website. It might just make you laugh.
I grew up listening to the gravel-pit voice of Jack Buck (who was great) alongside a drunk Mike Shannon (not so great, but we love him anyway), so I’m used to hearing strange things from the broadcast booth. In fact, Shannon still refuses to believe that somebody (or somebodies) other than Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball, even though history has proven the Doubleday tale to be pure myth.
In the end, I have to say that I love that these guys say what’s on their minds, dumb or not, and I always have the power of hitting the mute button.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.