Chicago White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson is best known for being a huge homer and not for delivering play-by-play with the type of tact that legends like Vin Scully display. So it’s probably not too surprising to hear the poor phrasing he used when talking about Cleveland Indians pitcher Chen-Chang Lee.
Lee is a relief pitcher from Taiwan who threw 4.1 innings last season in the bigs. He made his season debut on Thursday and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief against the Sox. While he was facing his second batter of the inning, the White Sox announcing team seemed intrigued by his sidearm delivery and sweeping finish.
“It’s a nasty slider from down under,” Steve Stone said about a slider Alexei Ramirez took for a strike.
“Yeah that’s a typical Asian motion,” said Hawk. “Deception involved.”
Yes, many Asian pitchers have different motions from North American pitchers. They most likely have different instruction in Japan and other Asian countries compared to North America, which is also why many Asian hitters have different stances, swings and finishes from what we’re used to seeing. Hideo Nomo had his tornado thing, Dice K Matsuzaka had a hesitation, and Hiroki Kuroda has a hitch in his leg kick, just to give a few examples.
But is Lee’s motion a “typical Asian motion”? If so, what is a typical Asian motion, Hawk?
If Hawk wanted to point out that many Asian pitchers have something with their delivery that is different from what we are used to seeing, that would be fine. If he wanted to say Lee has a tough ball to pick up because it’s sidearm, that’s fine. But what about this was typical Asian deception? The way he phrased and worded things was just plain bad.