Like him or not, Hawk Harrelson has signed a three-year extension to remain the White Sox play-by-play man through 2011.
The reaction to this news will be predictably mixed. Harrelson is a polarizing figure, even among Sox fans.
Hawk has some strong points as a broadcaster. Most of all, he loves the Sox every bit as much as us fans do. When the Sox are going good, his passion comes through loud and clear. During a good season, he's a joy to listen to. If you can get past all the goofy catch phrases, he really does have good insight into the game as well.
However, Hawk also has some glaring faults. When the Sox are doing poorly, as they did in 2007, he becomes an excuse-maker. He'll blame everything from the weather to the umpiring for an extended losing streak. This sort of blabber is insulting to many Sox fans. On the South Side, we believe that losing is the product of bad management and poor play. Nothing else. We don't want to hear excuses from anyone in the organization, from the GM to the manager to the players to the announcers. The losing is bad enough to deal with. I often wish Hawk would just shut up during losing streaks.
So is it a good thing that Harrelson is going to hang around awhile longer? Despite his faults, I think so. He's a character of the game, and baseball could use a few more characters. There are enough announcers around who all sound alike. Harrelson is different, and for me, his voice is the soundtrack of summer. Even though Hawk drives me up the freakin' wall from time to time, he's welcome to stay as long as he likes.