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Harrelson on tirade over ump: 'I meant what I said'

Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012 5:37 p.m. CDT

(MCT) — Hawk Harrelson became an Internet sensation after his rant Wednesday against umpire Mark Wegner went viral, and the colorful Chicago White Sox broadcaster isn't backing down.

"I said what I said and I meant what I said," Harrelson told "The Mully and Hanley Show" on WSCR-AM 670 on Thursday.

Harrelson said he had been swamped by phone calls in the aftermath of his on-air eruption, which came when Wegner ejected rookie left-hander Jose Quintana with two outs in the fourth inning of the Sox's eventual 4-3 victory for throwing behind the legs of Tampa Bay Rays batter Ben Zobrist. The ejection came despite no warnings having been issued when Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was hit in the shoulder by the Rays' Alex Cobb in the top of the third. That sent Harrelson into a tizzy.

"What are you doing? He threw him out of the ballgame? You gotta be bleepin' me!" Harrelson exclaimed. "What in the hell are you doing? What are you doing, Wegner? You gotta be kiddin' me! That is so bad, that is absolutely brutal! ... That is unbelievable."

Harrelson continued fuming as Wegner threw out Sox manager Robin Ventura for protesting. It marked Ventura's first ejection as a manager.

"I'll tell you what, they have got to start making guys be accountable, that is totally absurd!" Harrelson said. "That just tells you ... here's an umpire in the American League who knows nothing about the game of baseball."

Asked Thursday morning about his eruption, Harrelson told "The Mully and Hanley Show": “First of all, I still got a headache because I got so upset yesterday. I took four Advil after that inning was over and then I had to take four more on the plane and then when I got home last night I had to take four more. And also, when I got up this morning ... I had to take four more.”

As for Quintana's ejection, Harrelson said, "We had two guys drilled, none of their guys got thrown at, none of their guys left their feet and then all the sudden we throw behind Zobrist, which was below the belt about knee high behind him, and he throws Quintana out? Give me a break.”

Asked if Wegner should have issued warnings after Pierzynski was hit, Harrelson said, "Sure he should have. That’s what a good major league umpire would have done. You issue the warnings after A.J. got hit, that’s it, we’re done. Let’s play some baseball.

“It was a good series, but the guy should not have thrown Quintana out, it’s just that simple,” he said. “It was a mistake. The warning should have been issued when A.J. got drilled. That was the second guy that we had that got drilled, and it was just sad, it was just a sad thing ... anyway, I said what I said and I meant what I said, but as far as the team goes, it was a heck of a nice road trip."

According to a source with Major League Baseball, the commissioner's office is aware of Harrelson's tirade but is not likely to pursue any action because he is considered an employee of Comcast Sports Net Chicago, not the White Sox. As such, he does not fall under MLB's control. ___

©2012 the Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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