Hawk making most of time left in the booth

Anderson, Moncada, Engel must continue improving in September

August 19th, 2018

CHICAGO -- To use a phrase related to the game of golf near and dear to Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, his iconic 33-year broadcast career as the television voice of the White Sox is now on the 17th hole.

"Well, I just teed off on 18," said Harrelson with a laugh in the White Sox clubhouse prior to Sunday's game and his potentially sixth-to-last broadcast.

"But it's mixed emotions, there's no question about that," Harrelson said. "Then when I come back here and see the guys and everything, what I'm going to miss is not doing the games. I'm going to miss the relationships, the camaraderie. And I'll still be around some doing some stuff, but not in the same vein. It's just been a wonderful ride."

Paul Konerko, whose No. 14 jersey sits among the retired honorees at Guaranteed Rate Field, joined Harrelson Sunday as the guest analyst. A.J. Pierzynski, who will serve in that same guest analyst role during Hawk Harrelson Day on Sept. 2, also figured to be part of Sunday's broadcast. Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas previously worked with Harrelson during this final season.

"I love these guys like my sons. We had a close relationship here," Harrelson said. "We had a world championship ballclub for the first time in 88 years. I gotta tell you, in my playing days, the greatest year I ever had was '67 [with Boston] when we went to the World Series against the Cardinals and got beat in seven.

"Outside of that season, the '05 season was the most memorable season of my whole baseball career. I loved that team."

Harrelson raved about the 2 million people in attendance for the championship parade and ensuing ceremony, with countless fans crying tears of pure joy. He plans on addressing that time during his "swan song" speech on Sept. 2.

Jason Benetti is in his third season as part of the White Sox television broadcast, a nationally accomplished announcer who seamlessly returned to broadcast for the team he grew up following. As talented and as distinctive as Benetti's style is, there still will only be one Hawk.

"People can debate that," said White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer of Hawk. "I just don't think you are going to have someone with his level of confidence and comfort in being that quote unquote homer.

"Too many broadcasts are -- for now, at least in this generation of broadcasts -- straight down the middle and you don't have these polarizing figures. That's why I think it's unique and people enjoy it."

Abbreviated road trip

The White Sox travel to Minnesota for one game Monday night at Target Field and then return Tuesday to play two games against the same Twins at home.

"It's an odd thing for sure," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of the makeup of the snowout from April 15. "It's unique. I've never experienced it. It's one of those things baseball has to offer and we just have to deal with it. Hopefully, we all deal with it well and we do well there."

You gotta push

Renteria listed the defense (as a whole), , and 's offensive approach as just a few things he's seen improve this season. But he doesn't want that improvement to stop with six weeks left in the 2018 campaign.

"We're trying to see if we can get them to continue to push, really important because ultimately you're not setting up yourself or your organization or your club to just think about just playing through September," Renteria said. "You want them to continue to go out with the mindset that they're hopefully building for something that's going to be very productive and longer than just a regular season."