This card depicts Harold Reynolds, in his lone year as an Oriole, preparing to tag Ozzie Guillen as he slides headfirst into second base at what was then known as New Comiskey Park. Some fifteen years later, both men were back in that same ballpark yesterday evening for the White Sox' thrilling 1-0 one-game playoff win over the Twins. Ozzie, of course, was managing the Pale Hose to victory. Harold, on the other hand, was back in the saddle as an announcer for TBS, who televised the game.
I tuned in to the game in the fifth inning, with the score still tied 0-0. We'd arrived home just a few hours earlier, having spent nearly four hours on the road from Virginia. I was looking to relax with some quality postseason baseball, and I perked up as soon as I heard Harold's high-pitched, friendly voice. I've missed the former second baseman since his sudden firing from ESPN two years ago. Though he was no slouch on the diamond, he's truly been in his element in the years since he hung up his spikes, talking baseball with confidence and a good-natured demeanor while the camera rolls. In addition to his work on Baseball Tonight, he became one of the faces of the Little League World Series every summer, interacting effortlessly with pint-sized pitchers and shortstops. He's always seemed genuinely affable, and it's just comforting to hear him on a telecast rather than some self-important bozo like Joe Morgan or a gibbering pile of nonsense like Tim McCarver.
I'm not going to sugarcoat things; there are a lot of unanswered questions about the messy divorce between ESPN and Reynolds. The company's official story spoke of sexual harassment, but something seemed awry. Many other ESPN personalities had received slaps on the wrist for much worse offenses than "a misinterpreted hug", as Harold deemed it. But given that he quickly moved to sue his former employer, and that they chose to quietly settle out-of-court with him, I tend to give the former second baseman the benefit of the doubt. When it comes right down to it, I'm glad to have Harold Reynolds back. In yet another Orioles-free postseason, it's good to have a familiar face (and voice) hanging around.