White Sox play by play announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson found himself defending comments he made about the 2012 squad.

“I stand by what I said,” Harrelson remarked. “I have a duty to my fans and the listeners to be impartial and objective, even when it means ruffling some feathers.”

The comments in question related to Harrelson’s predictions for the 2012 season and how he “wasn’t expecting as much” out of this year’s team as some of the old White Sox teams he covered.

“Harrelson is a sell out,” Sox fan Mark “Third Gear” Turner said, “I may not have been to a Sox game since I was booted out of the company outing game in 1996 but I know these Sox and they’re going to kill the Tigers. Cubs suck!”

Harrelson also called out some of the team’s high-priced players.

“We all had real high expectations for Rios and Dunn, but we need to face reality, dagumit,” said Harrelson. “The fact is that they’re not the second-coming of Willie Mays and Harmon Killebrew like I predicted. We need to face facts and admit that they’re probably closer to Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek in their primes. Solid All-Stars, but not first-ballot Hall of Famers.”

That comment rankled some of the White Sox front office staff.

“I love Hawk but he’s dead wrong here, ” Sox GM Kenny Williams said. “I think this team is primed to make a run if only I had enough ammo in the farm system to get another front-line starter like Barry Zito. Think about it: two Cy Young award winners in one rotation! We’d be unstoppable.”

Harrelson does have a history of optimistic predictions regarding the White Sox. In 1984 he famously said “Ron Kittle is going to hit so many home runs for the Sox they’re not going to name streets after him, they’ll re-name entire states after him.” After the Sox acquired David Wells in 2001 he said Wells was so charismatic “I wouldn’t be surprised if he was elected mayor of Chicago by the end of this contract.”

But Harrelson isn’t all gloom and doom for the 2012 version of the Sox. He still predicts a 95-win season and said “John Danks reminds me of a young fire-baller by the name of Tom Seaver, only with a better change-up.”

Giles Tellum