WATCH: Harrleson tears into umpire Mark Wegner

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WATCH: Harrleson tears into umpire Mark Wegner

You have to be in your 40s to remember Ken Harrelson's days in Boston as an announcer, and in your 50s to remember him as a Red Sox player. Because I qualify on both counts, this Hawk rant from today -- classic enough to stand on its own -- means a little more to me than it probably will to most of you (courtesy of our friends at CSN Chicago):

The background: Plate umpire Mark Wegner ejected White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana for throwing behind the legs of Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist, even though no warnings had previously been issued. Wegner apparently felt the pitch was in retaliation for the Rays' Alex Cobb hitting Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski in the shoulder one inning earlier. Normally, the retaliation pitch -- especially if it doesn't hit anyone -- brings the warning; Wegner instead cut right to the chase. (White Sox manager Robin Ventura, incidentally, also got the heave for arguing the call, though not nearly as emotionally as the Hawk.)

Harrelson was the toast of Boston in 1968, when he hit 35 homers and captured the imagination of Red Sox Nation's youth (like me) with his long hair and Nehru jackets and love beads. He was traded the following year, but returned in 1975 as an announcer. And believe it or not -- after ditching a year-long Goober Pyle imitation he attempted when he first arrived -- he was an intelligent, erudite voice of reason, analyzing games as thoroughly as a college professor breaks down the chapter of a novel. He was an absolute joy to listen to.

That sort of analysis is heavy on honesty, and Red Sox management (Haywood Sullivan and Buddy LeRoux at the time) wasn't big on that particular attribute, especially as the '70s turned to the '80s and they were busy doing things like trading Rick Burleson and Fred Lynn for 20 cents on the dollar, and letting Carlton Fisk become a free agent by deliberately mailing his contract two days late. When the White Sox came calling with a big offer to become their lead TV voice, he was encouraged to take it.

And so he did. The job came complete with a pair of pom-poms -- White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf didn't mind honesty as long as it was delivered by a cheerleader -- and the Hawk eventually morphed into the frothing-at-the-mouth homer you just heard. Still, it's entertaining . . . and, in a strange way, it reminds me of better times.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'capable of more' vs. lefties

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'capable of more' vs. lefties

CHICAGO -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to Chicago:

 

QUOTES:

"He's rarely in the middle of the plate. He pitches to the edge very effectively. He's got a number of different looks he can give you.'' - John Farrell on White Sox starter Jose Quintana.

"We have such a heavily righthand-hitting lineup, you would think that our guys would be able to handle the off-side pitching coming at them. . . We're capable of more.'' - Farrell on the Sox 0-3 record against lefty starters.

"He's done everything that we could have asked, to get deep into games and low run situations -- and not just this year. This goes back to when he was in the rotation last year.'' - Farrell on tough-luck loser Steven Wright.

"That's what I'm working for every time.'' - Carson Smith on his scoreless inning in his Red Sox debut.

"It is what it is. Keep working and try to be ready on whatever opportunities come. That's all I can say about that.'' - Chris Young, on the infrequency of lefty starters.

"A little frustrated with the walks. I gave them the second run with the walks. When I'm out there throwing 20 pitches an inning, it's hard to get into a rhythm.'' - Steven Wright.

 

NOTES

* The Red Sox have faced three lefty starters this season and are 0-3. They've managed two runs in 23 innings and hit just .108 (8-for-74) against them.

* When the opposition scores first, the Red Sox are 5-6 this season.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to nine games with a sixth-inning single.

* Dating back to last season, Steven Wright hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in his last nine starts.

* Hanley Ramirez's homer in the fifth was his first since April 6, covering 96 at-bats.

 

STARS

1) Jose Quintana

Chicago's starter was brilliant, allowing a single run in eight innings on just four hits without issuing a walk.

2) Jose Abreu

The White Sox first baseman drove in three of the four White Sox runs with a first-inning triple and a two-run double in the eighth.

3) Steven Wright

Once again, the knuckballer got almost no run support and was stuck with the loss despite allowing just two runs in six innings.