Originally posted on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 8/29/12

We've gone into great detail about Hawk Harrelson's often juvenile rants about MLB umpires, but Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune (sub required) had an interesting thought about Harrelson's rants: are his rampages hurting the White Sox? 

Rosenbloom hypothesizes that Harrelson's vicious, anti-umpire diatribes are actually hurting the Sox on the infield when it comes to umpires giving them calls. However, former MLB VP of Umpiring Mike Port sent Rosenbloom an e-mail that seemingly set the record straight. Here are some choice quotes, including just how umpires see Hawk Harrelson:

"--Just as players try, umpires try.  Players miss ground balls, strike out, throw wild pitches, etc.  Umpires miss on pitches and calls.  But to think umpires “screw up” on purpose is akin to believing that a player would strike out on purpose to aggravate his manager.

--Umpires have great accountability to the Commissioner’s Office.  As you probably know, plate performances are evaluated by the best technology.  And, every call they make is reviewed for accuracy.

--Ken Harrelson.  Great personality, but considered an incorrigible, tired act by the umpires.  They consider the source and respect the players’ efforts too much to make mistakes intentionally.

--In Harrelson’s regard, the umpires seem to gravitate to something told to me by Gene Autry (whom I had the privilege of working for with the Angels): “If you see it; why would you step in it?”

A quick review of Harrelson’s umpiring “expertise” would seem to indicate that Harrelson is one of those who thinks that because he once flew on a 747 that he can pilot the damn thing.

I doubt the umpires really care about Harrelson.  One thing I found them to be excellent at is recognizing ignorance."

I think that's a fairly good estimate of the situation. I'd almost liken it to commenters on a blog: they'll occasionally troll, but you can't let them effect your work. If you take a personal vendetta out on a particular player or team just because of what other people say... well, you're not doing your job properly. You can blame umpires for many things, but holding a grudge against the Chicago White Sox because of their crotchety announcer isn't one of them.

[h/t: Chicago Tribune]

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