If I'm Mike Huff, I might keep my family vacations short this summer. He could very well be in demand this season, if Hawk Harrelson's Monday broadcast was any indication.
Harrelson already sounded beat down. It's not just the lower dynamics and longer periods of silence, but even his normal speaking tone featured a noticeable rasp. And when the broadcast went to the booth before the bottom of the eighth, the visuals matched the audio. He stood with his hands in his pockets, looking (but not looking) at the camera, and when Steve Stone handed it back to him, he just had nothing to add.
Hawk: "It's like we're just trying to figure out how to invent ways on how to beat ourselves."
Stone: "Well, unfortunately when you're on a streak as we've been, every little mistake -- or big mistake -- winds up burying you, and hopefully tonight will be an exception. But we did give up the lead."
And then Stone provided the voiceover for the game summary.
I note this not out of criticism, but out of concern. There's evidence that bad baseball takes a physical toll on him, as he missed all or parts of three games last year, all during or after ugly losses. We're only 19 games into this season, and this 3-10 stretch has taken up two-thirds of it. Moreover, the Sox are:
- Tied for last in OBP (.271, with the Marlins)
- Tied for 26th in errors (13)
So basically, they have the shortest innings when they have the bat, and they have the tendency to extend innings when pitching. If this were football, they'd be getting whupped in time of possession. In terms of the broadcast, Harrelson has to spend most of the broadcast with his guard up, and it sounds like it exhausts him.
I don't necessarily mind the quiet broadcasts right now. I noticed them last year, when Harrelson's pervasive tones of dread didn't mesh with what was a first-place product. This time, the team isn't offering much to talk about, and I don't think even Stone is looking for conversation.
But it brings to mind what Brooks Boyer told us when addressing the awkward broadcasts at the end of 2012, saying the goal for 2013 was to "sell the ballpark experience." Although it may not be what Boyer had in mind, I think Harrelson is doing the job here, and it might be harmful to his health.
This is either the start of a turnaround, or the start of a string of I-know-what-I'm-doing-wrongs that only lead to dead ends.
Jake Peavy is profiled in GQ, and if you ever wondered, "Hey, does Jake Peavy talk about everything the way he talks about baseball?" the answer is:
Any particular (musical) influences?
Hands down, 150 percent, fifteen times over, is Bruce Springsteen. This guy, he's got me. He's got me. All in.
One week removed from hamate-removal surgery, Gordon Beckham is feeling good enough to shorten his timetable. While he's supposed to be sidelined for six weeks, he wants to be back in four. He did issue a caveat:
"I don't know. That's just Dr. Gordon talking," said Beckham with a laugh, referring to his recovery predictions. "He doesn't know anything what he's talking about."
No, not in that way. Greg Walker will be one Beckham's groomsmen for his fall wedding, along with Paul Konerko and Chris Getz. So far, the wedding plans consist of asking Konerko what he did for his wedding.
"He was just going; it was just one of those where he did it," Ventura said. "I'd rather that not happen. If he's going to steal he needs to know he needs to get it. I had nothing to do it."
That's probably the closest he's come to throwing somebody under the bus, but he softened the criticism later:
"He's probably trying to make something happen," Ventura said. "Again, when it goes bad you can look at a bunch of different things and that’s just one of those things of guys trying to make something happen. I still want to him to have the freedom to go out there and play and play hard and think the game and do everything. "
For Craig and others wondering how Ventura sounds as these ugly losses pile up, he's a bit more peeved about it: