The White Sox make their latest visit up north to Wrigley Field to face the Cubs this week, but their former longtime announcer appears happy he’s not joining them.
Hawk Harrelson, when asked by local television reporters whether he’d miss covering games at one of baseball’s legendary stadiums, told reporters he’s got no plans to step back in the Friendly Confines again anytime soon because “that place sucks” for visiting teams.
“You couldn’t give me a $5,000, $10,000 bill to put another foot in that place,” Harrelson, who covered White Sox games for 33 years until his retirement in 2017, said Monday. “I’m telling you what, that place sucks, for the visiting team.”
The rivalry between the White Sox and Cubs has been as close as can be since the teams starting playing inter-league regular season games in 1997. When the teams meet on the North Side, the Cubs hold a 30-29 advantage. When the teams meet on the South Side, the Sox hold a 31-28 advantage.
Overall, the White Sox are 60-58 against the Cubs over the last 22 years.
Fans will surely disagree with Harrelson’s assertion given the unparalleled experience of taking in a game at Wrigley Field. Thankfully, the ex-broadcaster sees the light there, recognizing that it’s a great place to visit when you’re not part of the contingent for the opposing squad.
“Now for the fans, it’s great,” Harrelson said of Wrigley. “The venue is great. You can walk from Wrigley all the way downtown if you want, you can walk from downtown to Wrigley. So the venue is beautiful, and once you get on the field it’s great.
“It’s like Fenway [Park], Fenway sucks, it really does. They still got some of the same cracks and holes in the roof there as when I played back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.”
The Cubs have been aggressive in renovating Wrigley Field and the surrounding area in recent years, but it appears all those upgrades haven’t convinced Harrelson that it’s a modern-day, world-class ballpark.
So when is Harrelson going back? “Never again.”