Newsflash: Hawk Harrelson is biased

Chicago White Sox

But how big of a homer is he relative to broadcasters around the league? The Wall Street Journal investigates.

Hawk Harrelson, muse?

At least he was to the Wall Street Journal. Taking note of Harrelson's slight and subtle tendencies to favor one team over another, the paper decided to see just how much a White Sox TV broadcast plays up the home team versus everybody else.

The Journal decided to count all the "biased comments" over the course of randomly selected broadcast for each team. Examples of biased comments include:

  • Words like "we," "us" or "our"
  • Referring to a player by a nickname
  • Blatantly rooting for the home team

The results ... well, they won't surprise you. At all. And as somebody who watches the other teams' broadcasts 40 percent of the time, the sheer magnitude of Harrelson's homerism didn't catch me off guard either.

It didn't take long for the study to confirm what many baseball observers have long expected. During the White Sox game—a 2-1 win against the Texas RangersHarrelson and Stone (but mostly Harrelson) made a whopping 104 biased statements.

To put that in perspective, the Cleveland Indians duo of Matt Underwood and Rick Manning ranked second with just 23 biased comments and 24 of the 30 teams had fewer than 10.

"You just made my day," Harrelson said when told of his place in the biased standings. "That's the biggest compliment you could give me, to call me the biggest homer in baseball."

(In contrast to Harrelson, Cleveland's announcers declined to comment. My fondness for Harrelson varies based on how much he's bumming me out, but I always enjoy when fans of other teams complain about him. He absolutely eats it up, and I don't know if they get that.)

What's surprising is that five separate crews didn't make one "biased comment" over the course of a broadcast. You might expect somebody like Vin Scully to stay above the fray, but the Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox and Mets also steered clear of anything resembling abject cheering. Then again, the Mariners broadcast only tripped the alarm twice, and Dave Sims is a pretty lively guy, so it is possible to be excitable without crossing the line too often.

With this study tackled, I would now like to see how much the White Sox booth leads the rest of the league in moroseness. I bet the margin between first and second would be even greater, provided they didn't sample a Tom Paciorek broadcast.

Speaking of which, here's another reminder that the White Sox are 7-1 with Wimpy riding shotgun. Sure would be nice to see if that eight-game stretch could be replicated right about now.

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