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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Blake Schuster

Jason Benetti joining the Detroit Tigers’ booth is the latest gut-punch for White Sox fans

All summer long on the South Side of Chicago, the cries for Jerry Reinsdorf to sell the White Sox grew louder and louder in the very literal sense.

The latest decision to let beloved play-by-play man Jason Benetti go should make those cries even louder.

The sentiment has been there for years, of course, but beginning with the ill-fated decision to hire his old pal Tony La Russa to guide the team’s equally ill-fated rebuild to the finish line, chants of “Sell the team!” had become as much of a tradition at Guaranteed Rate Field as the seventh inning stretch or fireworks after home runs.

Fans paid for billboards outside the park and flew banners inside it demanding Reinsdorf just give it up already. The 87-year-old seems to have taken that as a challenge.

You think you have it bad, now? You think our decision-making is problematic? Just wait.

Here’s your new general manager, Chris Getz, a man who failed so poorly at developing a farm system for the White Sox that he could only fall up.

Don’t like that? Don’t worry, Getz is poaching from the Kansas City Royals — the only franchise more woebegone than Chicago in the American League Central — to advise him.

Still not done complaining? Ok, say goodbye to Tim Anderson. We’ll dump him without even trying to learn if his bad 2023 was an aberration or see if there’s trade interest for him at any point next year. Dylan Cease is on the block, too.

The war of attrition took a drastic turn on Thursday morning when the team announced Benetti is leaving to join the booth of the rival Detroit Tigers.

Benetti is a born-and-raised South Sider. A man who grew up rooting for the White Sox and someone who instantly engaged fans with intelligent discussion, silly antics and fun brain teasers that made tuning into games worth it — even when there was no reason to care about the players on the field.

When Hawk Harrelson retired, landing Benetti felt like a godsend. He was the complete opposite of a broadcaster who had become more catchphrase than person. Someone who revived Steve Stone in the analyst seat next to him and proved the former Cy Young winner could still have fun at the ballpark. Benetti knew, above all else, the show was not about him and yet he still found a way to elevate every major moment.

The final outs of no-hitters thrown by Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodón immediately come to mind. So do the less extraordinary accomplishments throughout the season, like when another Luis Robert Jr. robbery in centerfield was met with “Outrageous, 88!”.

Even spring training games were worth tuning into when Benetti was on the call. As his national profile grew stronger with gigs calling college football and basketball, the Olympics and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, it was impossible not for Sox fans to feel a sense of pride.

“He’s ours.”

Now, he’s theirs. A damn Detroit Tiger.

How much worse can it get for Chicago? The limit does not exist.

Hell, at a sports business conference in Los Angeles, Reinsdorf got up on stage admitted the best strategy was to just be decent until September to keep fans coming out. He ranted about being at the mercy of the “dumbest” owners around the league who had the audacity to spend money on quality players.

If we’re being completely honest. the clock is ticking on Reinsdorf’s tenure whether he sells or not. He’s 87, remember.

The real shame of it is that when that day does come, when the Sox broadcast clicks on for the first time without Reinsdorf occupying the owner’s booth, they’re going to want to have someone with heart summarize the highs and lows, the World Series and rebuilds and the muscle of Reinsdorf on those few days when he did care.

No one was better suited for the job than Jason Benetti.

Sox fans rightfully lost it

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