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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Jeff Agrest

Jason Benetti leaves White Sox’ TV booth for Tigers’ with one year left on contract

(Ron Vesely/White Sox)

The White Sox suffered their biggest loss of the offseason just as it was beginning.

TV voice Jason Benetti left to join the division-rival Tigers’ booth, the teams announced. Benetti had one year remaining on a contract he signed before last season.

That last negotiation was filled with acrimony because of Benetti’s national obligations with Fox, which he joined last year. The relationship had soured, and the Tigers swooped in with a significant offer, according to a source, prompting Benetti to ask out of his contract.

“We want to thank Jason Benetti for all he has done for the Chicago White Sox throughout his tenure and for all he means to White Sox fans,” Sox chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer said in a statement.

“As we have in the past when career-changing opportunities were made available for Jason’s consideration while under contract with the White Sox, we agreed to allow Jason to explore the opportunity with the Detroit Tigers, which he has accepted. We will miss Jason calling White Sox games and wish him the very best on this next chapter of his storied broadcasting career.”

“With Len Kasper fully committed to radio, our next step is to find the best person to pair with Steve Stone to continue to provide White Sox fans with smart, entertaining, and informative broadcasts in 2024. The search will begin immediately.”

Benetti’s portfolio of national broadcasts had been increasing for years. At ESPN, he called college football and basketball and “Sunday Night Baseball” Statcasts. With NBC Sports, he called Olympic baseball and was the first voice of Peacock’s “MLB Sunday Leadoff.” Now he’s calling major-league baseball and college football and basketball for Fox.

“I’m incredibly proud to join this historic and ascending Tigers franchise,” Benetti, who will be employed by the Tigers and appear on Bally Sports Detroit, said in a statement. “From every single person I talked with throughout the interview process, it was clear why so many respected professionals and creative people have joined the organization in the last several years. Everyone I spent time with made it clear this was the right place for me.”

Benetti’s departure ends a pairing with Stone that began in 2016, when Benetti called a partial schedule. He called 140 Sox games in 2018, and he and Stone became popular among viewers locally and nationally.

“Certainly, I enjoyed all of my time with Jason. He’s a wonderful broadcaster,” Stone said. “We all do things that either make our life easier, or we do things for assorted reasons. I wish him a whole lot of luck. He was a terrific partner.

“As far as Jason is concerned, he’s gonna find his own destiny. I’m sure they’re gonna really love him in Detroit. He’s probably the most well-prepared broadcaster that I know of. Again, you make decisions that are right for you, and apparently this one was right for Jason.”

Stone said he wasn’t aware of the chasm between Benetti and the Sox because he wasn’t in those meetings.

“I think if your bosses really enjoy your broadcasts, and I think Jason’s will wherever his bosses lie, you wanna have your guy as much as possible,” Stone said. “But Jason did have national commitments. What led to this probably was a lot of different things, I just don’t know them. We all do what’s best for us, and Jason felt at this point the thing that was best for him was to go to the Tigers.”

Stone understands that the parting won’t sit well with Sox fans, who already are frustrated with the team’s performance on the field after a 101-loss season.

“Jason was a great listen and a wonderful broadcaster, and he’s certainly gonna be missed,” Stone said. “I told him many years ago, he will be as successful as he wants to be and make as much money as he really needs because he’s that good. You have to find your destiny, and this is not going to be the last step for him, I believe, but it’s the current step for him.”

Stone said whoever succeeds Benetti is going to be very lucky.

“I think, No. 1, it’s a terrific job,” he said. “I’ve already given [the Sox] my opinions about various people. I talked with Brooks recently, I’ve talked with [chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] recently. It’s their decision to make, and they will give it to whoever they see fit.”

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