Nothing perfect about this game call
September 14, 2006
BY JAY MARIOTTI SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
So there was Freddy Garcia, crusty cap and all, repairing to the White Sox' dugout after retiring the first 21 Angels hitters Wednesday in Anaheim. And there was Hawk Harrelson, trembling in the TV booth like a human California earthquake, committing the ultimate sin in any baseball superstition handbook.
''PERFECT THROUGH SEVEN!'' he barked.
It's difficult enough tolerating this man's savage butchering of the language, which should be accompanied by subtitles and a ruler-wielding English teacher. But to hear him violate the traditional code that comes with any no-hit bid -- never, ever mention the p-word or the n-word during a broadcast -- basically jinxed any chance of Garcia completing the rare deed. Same goes for a large WGN graphic posted in the top of the eighth inning, which blared this to an afternoon drive-time audience in Chicago:
''PERFECT GAME IN PROGRESS.''
Of course, Garcia lost his flirtation with perfection in the eighth, only magnifying the decision by Harrelson and the production crew to blurt out the news flash. Why not be cleverly subdued like other broadcast crews in similar situations? Wasn't the linescore enough of an informative guide -- ANGELS 0 0 0 -- to prevent Harrelson from shouting out the obvious after the seventh? Down in the Sox dugout, no one dared to mention Garcia's pursuit of history, with 24-year-old Brian Anderson wise enough to say: ''Obviously people weren't talking about it because that's not a good thing.''
But no one told Hawkeroo, the baseball lifer with the stale 1960s shop stories. And no one told WGN, which may have been prioritizing an unexpected quickie ratings grab over a long-running baseball man law. We don't see many no-hitters in this town, with Wilson Alvarez last recording one for the Sox in 1991. Couldn't Harrelson have taken deep breaths and restrained his innards for two more innings?
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