White Sox

Change after the rant? Hawk would rather quit

781424.png

Change after the rant? Hawk would rather quit

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

Ken Hawk Harrelson wants to say it wont happen again. The next time he disagrees with an umpire decision, Harrelson said hell do his best to not criticize the umpire on air as he did with Mark Wegner during Wednesdays White Sox road game against Tampa Bay.

That doesnt mean it wont happen again.

Im going to do everything in my power not to let it happen again, Harrelson said Friday before the Soxs series opener against Seattle at U.S. Cellular Field. But who can say? Ive snapped before. If I tell you right now it wont happen again, I mean it. But I couldnt guarantee it.

Harrelson heard from commissioner Bud Selig and team owner Jerry Reinsdorf in the wake of his latest outburst. He wouldnt say exactly what was said, though he did say he wasnt told he had to apologize. He also said the conversations were decidedly one-sided.

As you all know, Im not afraid of many things, but if it had been a fight they would have called it in the first round, Harrelson said on the steps of the Sox dugout after he talked with general manager Kenny Williams.

Harrelsons rant has been the talk of the Internet for the past two days. Deadspin posted something about it before the game had even ended. Transcriptions and video replays are available with a simple search.

Yet somehow many of the Sox players claim they havent seen or heard the tirade.

I havent heard what Hawk said, but I bet its pretty funny, Adam Dunn said.

Ive heard some rumors about this, but I havent even heard what happened, Gordon Beckham said. Somebody said something that Hawk was pretty fired up about the ejection, but I promise you I havent heard it.

I still havent heard it, but I hear other people talking about it, manager Robin Ventura said. Again, were worried about what were doing, and not the peripheral things that go on around it.

A.J. Pierzynski also said he hadnt heard it in turning down a request to talk about it.

While they didnt want to discuss the actual incident, players were responsive to questions about having a guy like Harrelson in the booth ready to defend them so vehemently.

Hawk is a big proponent of ours and wants us to do well, Beckham said. Its always nice to have somebody in the booth who is behind you, good or bad, rain or shine.

Harrelson said he plans to address the matter on air in tonights broadcast, and then put it to rest. Hes hoping others will do the same. But he insists he'll never change his style in the broadcast booth.

If I do that Ill quit, he said.

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

Eloy Jimenez is wasting no time endearing himself to the South Side. His game-winning, broken bat homer against the team that traded him away, in his first time back, is the stuff of legend. The Quintana-Eloy trade still probably has 10-15 years of barguments ahead of it, but it's quickly becoming one of the more fascinating storylines in recent memory. 

There's apparently baseball going on outside of Chicago, though, and as it turns out, the teams that were still really good last week are still really good this week. The Astros and Yankees are actually probably getting better. The Orioles are not. 

To the rankings! 

YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE MLB POWER RANKINGS RIGHT HERE

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Looking for another example of how far Lucas Giolito has come this season? Look back to last year’s Crosstown series.

Giolito pitched in games on both sides of town, but the start he made against the Cubs at Wrigley Field was emblematic of his woeful 2018 season. He actually earned the win in that game, but he walked seven batters and threw three wild pitches. By the time he exited, his season ERA was nearly 7.00.

White Sox fans know that 2019 has been the complete opposite for Giolito, and he rides into his Wednesday-night start on the North Side as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Just like Eloy Jimenez’s game-winning home run Tuesday was the best snapshot of the White Sox rebuilding progress to date, putting last year’s start at Wrigley next to where Giolito is heading into this year’s start at Wrigley is the best snapshot of his amazing transformation.

“It was survival mode,” Giolito said Tuesday. “Now I feel like I’m on the attack. When I take the ball, I have full confidence in myself that I will come after you with really good stuff, changes in velocity and movement. Last year I went out not knowing what I had that day.

“I don’t want to walk seven, like I did last year here. I got the win somehow. The offense and defense bailed me out a ton. This year I’m much different. I’m all about filling up the zone, attacking hitters. That’s pretty much the M.O.”

The difference has been obvious to anyone who watched Giolito struggle last season to the tune of a 6.13 ERA (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), a 1.48 WHIP (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), 118 earned runs (the most in baseball) and 90 walks (the most in the American League). This season, he’s been dominant, on an incredible run that’s made him as good a Cy Young candidate as you’ll find. He’s got a 2.22 ERA right now, best in the AL, with 95 strikeouts in 81 innings.

Over his last eight starts, Giolito has a 0.94 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. Opposing hitters are batting just .149 against him during that span.

The dude’s on fire, a near lock to be an All Star, and perhaps most importantly, he’s totally changed his long-term perception in the minds of White Sox fans. They groaned during the walks and the runs and the wild pitches last year and cast him out of their projected future rotations. Now they’re cheering a guy who looks capable of leading that rotation of the future.

What a difference a year makes.

If those White Sox fans are anything in number and volume like they were Tuesday night, when they made Wrigley Field sound like Guaranteed Rate Field after Jimenez’s homer in the ninth, then Giolito can expect a rocking atmosphere as he looks to keep the good times rolling — and make a Crosstown moment worth remembering this time.

“I want to give the fans a show as much as I can,” Giolito said. “I like to see we’re filling up our ballpark with more White Sox fans, more people starting to pay attention. Just want to continue on that train. Our team is playing really hard and we’re happy to be here.

“My goal every time I pitch is to win, so not too much changes. But it's going to be a lot of fun, I'll say that. I'm looking forward to it.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.