White Sox Announcer Benetti Discusses Dream Job, Team Expectations
There’s a new TV voice on the south side of Chicago this summer. Jason Benetti is doing play-by-play for the White Sox home broadcasts alongside analyst Steve Stone. He also grew up a Sox fan in suburban Homewood, with a career aspiration of broadcasting baseball.
Benetti, who has cerebral palsy, recalls attending his first game at U.S Cellular Field as a child.
"I was sitting in the upper deck," he said. "And I remember, very vividly, my dad giving me a piggyback ride down the stairs. This is kind of a strange memory to have, but the park (now) smells the same. The Italian sausage, and the bratwurst, and everything combined, and suddenly you get the smell of popcorn every once in a while. It's like the same ballpark I went to as a kid."
In Thursday's interview with Niala Boodhoo on Thursday's 'The 21st', Benetti also talked about dealing with cerebral palsy, something he doesn't see as a limit. The broadcaster says he has no pain, is stress free, and perception is the only problem he deals with.
"As the days and years go by, and people understand what I'm doing, and why I look like what I look like, and people ask questions, and people can get around it fairly easily," he said. "A lot of people with CP have it much worse than I do."
Benetti started in radio, where he grew comfortable behind the mic. He loves radio, but says TV provides for more commentary with all the strategic decisions that take place during a baseball broadcast.
He's a graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, which has a habit of producing careers in broadcasting.
"Every day after school, there would be a group of us, and it was a rotating group on a day-to-day basis, that would tape video shows and tape radio shows, and be live on the radio, and do all of these things," he said.
Benetti says the station was essentially a second home for aspiring broadcasters like him and fellow sportscaster Laurence Holmes, who he works with on White Sox broadcasts.
Benetti says he has to make a point of tamping down his exhileration, and doing his job well during the long baseball season.
"If you get too 'up' for anything happening in a baseball season leading up to the really big moments, I think you're probably overselling it a little bit," he said. "Sometimes I do that in a game because I think it's a big spot, but it turns out to not be a big spot. I don't want to be a kid in a candy store, however, I am every day. It's an interesting dicotomy."
As for the product on the field, Benetti says the big surprise is All-Star pitcher Chris Sale, who leads the majors with 14 wins. He says feels confident in saying the Sox will be in thick of the playoff hunt come October.