My antenna was raised this morning when I saw a small item in the White Sox notebook by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales:
“Sox television announcer Steve Stone, who is in the midst of a multiyear contract, is expected to receive interest from other media outlets but would need permission to get out of his current pact.”
Hmmm, what’s that all about? I have covered team beats, and I know that item didn’t come out of nowhere.
Then WSCR-AM 670, the White Sox’s flagship station, played a clip of Stone as he signed off on their season finale Wednesday.
Stone said: “There are a lot of lessons to be learned, and one of them is that the clock is always ticking. You’ve got to enjoy what you do.”
Was that a dig at his partner Ken Harrelson? There was a long pause and Harrelson said, “Alright..”
Stone then appeared on the McNeil and Spiegel Show on SCR. He was frank about his relationship with Harrelson, which definitely appears to be strained at best. And he wasn’t definitive about whether he would be back with the Sox next year. Here are some of the highlights.
On returning to the Sox in 2013: I’m pretty sure I am, but you never know what next year will hold…(Harry Caray) used to say as you get older, time moves more quickly. You’d like to slow it down, but you can’t. You have to enjoy what you’re doing.
On working with Harrelson: When you have a partner in any business, you are going to have periods where some things are good and some not so good. Some periods where things are exhilarating and some when they are frustrating.
Hawk is the face of the franchise. The booth is named after him. He might be the ultimate fan. When things are not going so well, he gets grumpy. Grumpier than the normal person would get doing that particular job.
When things are going well, he’s absolutely ecstatic. For those of us who don’t have those phenomenal highs and exceptional lows, it becomes a bit difficult at times. But that’s the kind of person he is.
I understand the game of baseball. Some of the times when things didn’t go so well in the partnership were a direct result of how the team was doing at the time and how he felt stressed about this thing starting to slip away.
Do you want to be back with the Sox?: I want baseball and broadcasting to be a part of my life. (McNeil then pressed him for an answer).
I have a contract with the White Sox. They’ve been wonderful to me. I fully expect nothing will change.
Our job is really easy when things are going well. For 118 days, when the team was in first place, our job was easy. Our difficulty came when things get negative and the team didn’t perform the way it should or you expected. That’s the time when you have to go to the vaudeville act.
I’ve known Harrelson and Stone for a long time. Both men are very good at what they do. They also have significant egos and have a certain way of doing things.
Did that interview sound like someone who wants to return to the same situation in 2013? At the very least, both men will have to go through some couples counseling.
Here’s the podcast. The Stone segment comes at the 25-minute mark.