After the unfortunate White Sox collapse last September, broadcaster Steve Stone was asked about his future with the team. Stone and Hawk Harrelson have been a broadcasting team since the beginning of the 2009 season.
It was rumored that Stone was growing tired of Hawk's antics and periodic mood swings in the booth. On September 4th, during the White Sox beatdown at the hands of the Twins at home (they lost 18-9), Hawk left the booth because he was so angry at the team's performance, forcing Stone to finish it by himself.
Stone even acknowledged Hawk's "passion" in an interview with The McNeil and Spiegel Show on 670 the score:
“He is associated with White Sox baseball maybe like nobody else has for quite some time,” Stone said. “They realize that he might be the ultimate fan. So, when things aren’t going well for the team, he gets grumpy. Grumpier than the normal person would get who would be doing that particular job. … For those of us who don’t have those phenomenal highs and exceptional lows, it become a little bit difficult at times to relate.”
That is the nice way of saying that Hawk is the White Sox's very own Dick Vitale. His emotions come through loud and clear in each and every broadcast, and that can be a difficult roller coaster to ride for 162 games.
Apparently, though, the two have worked through their issues and will be back for at least another season.
During the recent White Sox fan fest, Stone and Harrelson sat down with team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and other big wigs to work everything out according to the Sporting News.
Harrelson said of the meeting, “In 2011 something was wrong…in 2012 something was wrong. We talked about it through the course of the year and finally had the big meeting at Sox Fest. We got it all out on the table and worked it all out. When we walked out of the meeting, I felt great and so did Steve.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the tension in the booth is eased at all next season. It's nice to see the duo try to work through their personality differences, and perhaps this season will bring us a more relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes, the broadcasts are hard to watch with too many uncomfortable silences and Hawk dominating almost every minute.
One thing is for sure – as a Reinsdorf favorite and one of the most passionate Sox fans on the planet, Harrelson is not going anywhere in spite of a couple public reprimands last year for his outbursts. So it is up to the team to find him the perfect broadcasting match. It may or may not be Stone in 2013, but we're looking forward to the season nonetheless.