Calling a baseball game in Chicago, a football game in Florida, and another baseball game in Chicago in 26 hours is a pretty amazing broadcasting feat, and that’s what Jason Benetti pulled off this week. Benetti called a Chicago White Sox game on CSN Chicago Friday night, flew to Tallahassee to call a NC State – Florida State game on ESPN Saturday afternoon, and then raced back to Chicago for another White Sox game Saturday night, only missing the first inning. Here’s video of his travels:
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 24, 2017
Nick Bromberg of Yahoo’s Dr. Saturday blog has more details on Benetti’s amazing week of travel, which began with him going to New York City for the Broadway production of Dear Evan Hansen Wednesday (he had tickets months before he knew of his crazy weekend schedule, and told Bromberg “I did some poor planning of my week, but when you get tickets you’ve got to go, right?”).
Benetti then flew to Tallahassee Thursday morning, watched Florida State’s practice, flew to Chicago on a 5:50 a.m. flight Friday morning, talked with Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher on the phone after he landed, then called the Royals-White Sox game Friday night. He, his football spotter, and the camera crew documenting his travels then headed to the airport for a chartered flight to Tallahassee, and he studied up for the football game on the way.
And it went on from there. The flight landed around 3 a.m. local (Eastern Time), meaning that Benetti didn’t have much time before the noon Eastern NC State-FSU kickoff. And with that game stretching out over three hours, it made for a rush back ahead of the White Sox game Saturday night (7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central), including Benetti and the crew running down multiple flights of stairs thanks to a full elevator. The chartered flight back left Tallahassee at 4:26 Eastern and landed in Chicago right around the time the game began, which meant Steve Stone called it solo until Benetti rushed in for the second inning.
He told Bromberg despite the haste at the end, the experience was a fun one to embrace, and he appreciates his employers’ support:
“I actually almost bit it down the stairs I was going so fast,” Benetti said of his hustle into the White Sox booth. “I was just glad to not go head over heels into Stoney rolling down the stairs.”
“When you have two employers who are willing to do that, you cherish it and you love it and you embrace it because not everybody has that. And regardless of whatever people think, ‘Oh three games in 23 hours.’ That’s great and everything, but people have a lot tougher jobs than I do … It’s pretty awesome to have two employers who were like ‘Yeah, let’s give this a shot.’”
It’s cool to see a versatile announcer like Benetti get the chance to shine in multiple sports in one weekend, even with significant geographic challenges in the way. The crazy amounts of travel involved here probably wouldn’t make any sense to do regularly, but for one weekend, it’s an interesting trip, and one that’s fun to read about and watch. And he managed to pull it off very well.