Possible Replacements For Hawk
While I'm going to get into my ideas for what I'd like to see the White Sox do this offseason at some point, we're going to start with something a bit more cosmetic.
The television booth.
We know that Hawk Harrelson will only be doing road games and a select few home games next season. I assume that, unlike last year when Hawk said he was going to work a lighter schedule in 2015, he means it this time.
Of course, should the White Sox sign Jason Heyward, David Price and Ben Zobrist, maybe he'll change his mind again.
But let's assume that's not going to happen. Let's work under the assumption that the White Sox really are looking for a new play-by-play voice to pair with Steve Stone for about half the slate in 2016. Who should they be looking for?
Obviously, I think they have to go young. I love Hawk, despite all his flaws, the man has been the voice of White Sox baseball my entire life. I'm not even sure how I'll react to hearing another full-time play-by-play guy when they show up. Having said that, it's totally time for this to happen. If you want to market the product to a younger clientele -- and there is no greater marketing tool than the television broadcast, no matter what promotions they come up with at the park, or what kind of food is sold -- you need somebody calling the games that doesn't make the viewer think of that crazy man at the bus station.
But, at the same time, I don't think they should limit themselves in a search. At the end of the day the goal is to find somebody who is good at the job, and can do an excellent job of representing the franchise to the fan base on a daily basis throughout the season.
So here's my shortlist of potential candidates. I tried to limit the list to people I thought would actually take the job. I'd love to just import Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow from San Francisco, but that's just not going to happen.
Anyway, to the candidates, listed in alphabetical order.
You may be familiar with Anderson from his national work, as he works for TBS during the postseason. During the regular season, though, he does play-by-play for the Milwaukee Brewers, and though this list is in alphabetical order, he also happens to be my top choice.
The way I look at it, moving from Milwaukee to Chicago is a promotion for Anderson, as Chicago is a much larger market. Considering he's doing national television work, you have to think that kind of thing is important to him.
As for that national work, the White Sox have already used Chuck Swirsky to fill in for Hawk. When Anderson takes over the full-time reigns in Chicago, Swirsky could fill in for him when national duty calls.
Burkhardt is currently doing studio work for Fox during the postseason, but he also does NFL games for the network as well. He used to work for the Mets at SNY, so he has a baseball background.
I really don't think Burkhardt would be willing to give up his national gig -- particularly NFL games -- to call 162 White Sox games a year, but I enjoy his work, so I'm including him on the list. Yes, two names in and I've already broken my realistic candidate promise. Deal with it.
Would Mario leave Detroit for Chicago? I don't know. All I know is that whenever I've watched a Detroit Tigers broadcast I've found myself enjoying Impemba on the broadcast. I can't say the same about who Mario has to work with (Rod Allen, Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson are all bad), but he does a good job of making the broadcast pleasant enough on his own.
I think he'd pair well with Steve Stone.
Glen Kuiper is currently the play-by-play man for the Oakland Athletics, another one of my favorite television booths during the season. He's also the younger brother of Duane Kuiper, who does Giants games with Mike Krukow in my favorite TV booth in baseball.
Glen Kuiper is a lot like his brother. They sound alike, they aren't afraid to have fun during a game, they are conversational, and they know what they're doing.
I'd be thrilled if the White Sox could convince Glen Kuiper to leave Oakland, though I don't know whether or not he wants to leave.
It wouldn't be Lewin's first time in Chicago. He spent the 1997 season doing Cubs games for WGN with Steve Stone. He's done a lot of other work since then, but he's currently doing radio for both the New York Mets and San Diego Chargers, while occasionally working college football games on Big Ten Network.
I don't think there's anything particularly amazing about Lewin, but he's solid, and he knows what he's doing. If he's looking to get back into being an everyday play-by-play guy on the magic picture machine, you have to think it'd be hard for him to turn down Chicago.
Our favorite pre- and post-game radio host. I don't like Rongey's odds to land the gig, particularly now that the White Sox are leaving The Score, but if they really want to skew younger, Rongey could prove to be a great choice.
Plus it'd be a lot of fun to troll the White Sox play-by-play announcer on Twitter.
Do I think Rooney is going to leave the St. Louis Cardinals? No. Would I mind having the radio voice of the 2005 White Sox working the television broadcast? Not at all.
Not exactly the youth movement candidate, but I've always loved Gary Thorne. It started when he was doing NHL games for ESPN in the early 90s, and it's continued to his days now with the Baltimore Orioles.
A long-shot at best, but this would make me so happy.