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Harrelson and Stone talk it out, aim for improved broadcasts

Broadcasters Steve Stone (L) and Ken "Hawk" Harrelson call a game between the White Sox and the Oakland Athletics at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. The A's defeated the Sox 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS – Steve Stone said the past week’s worth of White Sox broadcasts with play-by-play partner Ken Harrelson “might have been the best five games we’ve worked in all the years we’ve been together.’’

The reason?

A sit-down “clearing of the air” talk last week between the veteran talents who’ve made their marks as individuals and with other TV booth partners but not so much as a team. Fans liked the Harrelson-Don Drysdale and Harrelson-Tom Paciorek pairings during the 1980s and 1990s and the Harry Caray-Stone tandem in the Cubs booth during the same period, but Harrelson and Stone have never really hit it off, some observers say, due to the absence of back-and-forth, give-and-take baseball discussions on air.

That seems to be changing, though.

“We decided we really wanted to both pull on the same page to make it, for our fans, the best broadcast we could possibly have,’’ Stone said Saturday. “And that would be more interaction from both of us toward the other. It started with that first Cubs game [Monday].

“I’ve been so happy. It’s only been five days but it’s five days of a lot better feelings in the booth.’’

Harrelson, 74, who for the first time is working a split schedule doing road games only with a few exceptions while Jason Benetti has teamed with Stone on home broadcasts, said the new schedule recharged his battery and that he wants to continue the same workload next season. Going in, he told chairman Jerry Reinsdorf this would be his last year if he didn’t like the new setup.

“I love it,’’ Harrelson said. “I’m rejuvenated.’’

Harrelson said the meeting of the minds between him and Stone, 69, who are in their ninth year together, was needed.

“It’s like anything else, you have situations that arise and everything is not copacetic, so to speak,’’ Harrelson said. “The best thing is to talk it out.

“When things don’t come easy, and there is a little friction, if you don’t solve it, it will fester. I’ve always been a guy, if there is a problem, I’m going to solve it one way or another.’’

Said Stone: “There was a clearing of the air discussion that, I don’t know, maybe needs to happen every few years. The end result is there is a much better feeling in the booth, much more cooperation and he’s much more likely to make an observation that I can elaborate on. I’m much more apt to direct an observation at him that can tap into his expertise.’’

Notes

Adam Eaton, banged up by foul balls and a hit by pitch, was given the day off against lefty Tommy Milone. Manager Robin Ventura has been wanting to give Eaton a day off for a week, he said. “He’s pretty sore,’’ Ventura said.

*Todd Frazier missed a second straight start because of a virus. “I don’t know what he’s got but I don’t want it,’’ Ventura said.

*Former Twin Justin Morneau homered against lefty Tommy Milone and was cheered running around the bases. Morneau also doubled off the wall, driving in the Sox’ first run.

*Carlos Rodon has been slotted to start Sunday for days but the Sox didn’t make it official until Saturday. Rodon (sprained left wrist) hasn’t pitched since July 5, when he allowed six runs on 12 in five innings against the Yankees.