Jason Benetti at a Xavier basketball preview event in October 2023. Sports commentator Jason Benetti host the discussion during a Xavier University basketball preseason preview event at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.

When Jason Benetti left the Chicago White Sox’s broadcasts on NBC Sports Chicago for the Detroit Tigers’ broadcasts on Bally Sports Detroit last week, there was a lot of discussion about what was behind that move. Benetti was still under contract with the White Sox for another year after the team picked up a multi-year option on him in January, but they had allowed him to listen to outside offers, and there were reports on some divides between the team and Benetti.

Benetti discussed that a bit with Richard Deitsch of The Athletic this week. There, he cited one particular quote from a Sox figure as something that made him wary of working with the team long-term. “I had somebody say to me when I asked for more respect — and basically demanded more respect just in the way I was being treated — they said, ‘Respect according to normal human beings, or respect according to Jason Benetti?’ That is one of those things that I say, that’s disqualifying and will be for a long time. I’ll have a relationship, but I don’t want to do that long-term.”

Jeff Agrest of The Chicago Sun-Times dug into that a bit more for a piece published Thursday. Agrest reported, citing multiple sources, that the remark in question came from White Sox senior vice president and chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer. And while both Benetti and Boyer said they’re fine with each other now, that remark still seems to have made an impact:

Sources said the ‘‘somebody’’ was Boyer.

When asked for comment, Boyer said: “Jason and I had a friendly and positive conversation last week when he called to say goodbye, and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Benetti confirmed the conversation, saying: “Brooks and I had a great conversation last week. I deeply appreciate what he said to me over the course of that discussion and fully believe we’ve moved beyond anything in the past.”

But the damage had been done, and it was evident to those close to Benetti.

“I don’t know that Jason was as happy as he possibly could have been the last year or so,” said Chris Withers, the producer for Sox games on NBC Sports Chicago. “So the fact that he is happy now and going to be in a place that is going to just love what he brings to a broadcast, that’s most important.

“We had dinner on Sunday; it was great to see him. I saw someone who’s just happy to be doing baseball where they have some great plans. The Tigers know what they want, and, in my mind, they got the best in the business.”

Team relationships with local broadcasters sometimes go awry for many different reasons, so this certainly isn’t unprecedented. But it is still notable to see this particular discussion of just what went wrong with the White Sox and Benetti. And Benetti is a beloved broadcaster on both the national and local fronts, and the Tigers certainly seem happy to get him.

And Benetti seems happy to be moving there, and has cited the Tigers’ interest in him as a key reason for making the move. And, as Agrest’s article goes on to note, there will surely be plenty of broadcasters interested in the White Sox job, with Mike Monaco, Connor McKnight, Connor Onion, and Chris and Stefan Caray specifically mentioned as possibilities. So this could wind up working out for all sides. But it’s still interesting to read about just what went wrong here.

[The Chicago Sun-Times]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.