If you’ve watched ESPN’s college basketball and football coverage, then you may have seen and heard Jason Benetti call games on its various networks. Now Chicago White Sox fans will have the opportunity to get to know Benetti this season. The team has named him to call a majority of their home games in place of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson who will focus on the road games in 2016. Steve Stone will continue to the analyst on the TV games which are aired on Comcast SportsNet, WGN and WPWR.
Benetti is young, 32 and grew up a White Sox fan. Since 2011, he’s been working for the Worldwide Leader, but he also has extensive baseball experience having been the voice of the minor league Syracuse Chiefs for five years through 2014.
What you may not know about Benetti is that he has cerebal palsy, but you would not know it from his calls on ESPN. While it restricts his movement, it certainly doesn’t affect the way he calls games. And he works with the Cerebal Palsy Association to help others.
But Benetti doesn’t let that define him. The White Sox felt Benetti calls a good game and according to the Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman, he had an ally in Cubs TV voice Len Kasper who advised the White Sox broadcasting department to sign him while he was available. Kasper told the Tribune, “When I strongly suggest somebody, that means I think (the person) is going to be great. You know the ‘it’ factor? It’s hard to describe, but Jason has ‘it.’ ”
So with Joe Davis being named as the man who will call the Los Angeles Dodgers road games on TV this upcoming season and now Benetti for the White Sox to sub for Harrelson, we’re beginning to see the next generation of announcers coming in. Will they have as long careers as the men they’re bound to replace? Only time will tell, but time is telling us that it’s the start to a transition period for sports broadcasting and we need to be get ready to get accustomed to hearing new voices in the booth.