Thursday, April 13, 2006
MLB Extra Innings
Last weekend I ordered the MLB Extra Innings package for the 2006 season. There was a free preview last week and I decided to go for it. So far I'm satisified with it, as you get to see broadcasts of games from around the country. Most times you get the broadcast of the home team but you do get the occasional road team's announcers. It's worth getting, and if you're interested in getting it, you can call 1-888-SPORTS-IN. Last night there were 11 games on Extra Innings from 7 PM until the last game finished at just after 1 AM. My kind of evening!!
Tonight's Red Sox-Blue Jays game is not being offered, nor any other baseball on the package this evening, as they are showing nothing but hockey games. Ten channels and they ALL had hockey games on! Very bizarre. I'm still trying to figure my way through the schedule, but I hope those days I'm not at Professor Thom's I'll be seeing Red Sox games on the package.
It's interesting seeing the game from the point of view of other clubs' announcers. Today I was watching the White Sox-Tigers from Detroit and the White Sox crew was doing the game that was won by the White Sox, 13-9. Of all the broadcast crews I've heard in baseball today, the White Sox guys are absolutely the worst in the business.
The lead guy is Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson. He is really the head cheerleader for the White Sox. Now every team's broadcast crew favors the home club, as they are paid by that team. But every time I've listen to the White Sox play, I want to put my foot through the TV. I've never heard such unabashed homerism in my entire life. Whichever other person he's teamed with in the White Sox booth (mostly Darrin Jackson when I've watched), it turns into a White Sox pep rally. Harrelson is best known for his White Sox home run call: "You can put it on the board, YYYEEEESSSSS!!!!"
I'm from the school that baseball announcers should show some objectivity in calling home team games. I absolutely hate it when announcers start using the terms "we" and "us" when referring to the home side. Harrelson goes far beyond that. The opposing team are "the bad guys", the White Sox are "the good guys". When the White Sox play the Red Sox he still calls Chicago "the Sox", despite the fact the other team is also known as the Sox too. When the other team hits a homer the booth goes silent. Harrelson and his other boothmates basically openly root that the White Sox do something good on the next pitch. After hearing these homers call a game, it makes watching the Red Sox and Mets announcers do a game an absolute pleasure. Even the YES broadcasters are far more objective than The Hawk and his Chicago Cheerleaders.
A friend last year sent me a web site that basically bashes Harrelson, called "Heave The Hawk". It's worth checking out: www.heavethehawk.com. I wonder what most White Sox fans think of this broadcast crew, but I bet they are used to this kind of broadcast. Last year I was watching ESPN Classic and they showed the Opening Day game from 1981 between the White Sox-Red Sox, which was Carlton Fisk's return to Fenway Park after leaving Boston as a free agent in 1980. The White Sox broadcasters on that game were Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall. They were as bad, if not worse than Harrelson. During the game Chicago had a man on second and a guy got a hit. I thought Piersall was going to lose his mind (once again) and jump out of the booth, as he was practically yelling at the runner to stop at third (which he did). Fisk later hit a game-winning homer, and you'd have thought the White Sox had just won the World Series.
I'm a baseball fanatic, and I'll watch games from everywhere. But I will limit my viewing of the White Sox this season when The Hawk and his gang are on. I don't want to risk damage to my TV set from objects thrown at it.