Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Jeff Agrest

Why couldn’t White Sox treat Jason Benetti like Bulls treat Adam Amin?

Bulls TV voice Adam Amin also has national commitments with Fox, as does former White Sox voice Jason Benetti. (Provided)

The White Sox are doing their due diligence as they seek a replacement for TV voice Jason Benetti. All is quiet at the moment, but that figures to change soon.

Sox fans were anything but quiet three weeks ago when the team announced Benetti’s departure and the Tigers announced his arrival. Benetti had developed a kinship with fans, having grown up in Homewood as one of them. He understood them.

That makes it all the more bewildering how a chasm could’ve existed between Benetti and Sox brass — in particular, senior vice president Brooks Boyer and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

Benetti was good for the Sox’ brand. He has a national following from his work at ESPN and now Fox. Granted, Benetti missed Sox games because of those commitments, and that became a point of contention with the team. But whenever he was on the air elsewhere, many viewers knew he was the Sox’ guy, and others likely came away impressed with him.

There’s another announcer in town who’s in a similar situation to the one Benetti was in. He works for Reinsdorf, he’s adored by fans and he misses games because he also appears nationally on Fox — Bulls TV voice Adam Amin.

Yet, there are no fault lines in his relationship with the team, and the Bulls have no problem accommodating his busy fall schedule.

Last week, Amin missed the first three games of a four-game trip to call the Michigan State-Arizona basketball game on Thanksgiving near Palm Springs, California, and the Panthers-Titans game Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee. Those are among the 12-13 games Amin will miss this season.

Baseball broadcasters with national commitments — such as Benetti and Cubs TV voice Jon Sciambi, who also calls “Sunday Night Baseball” on ESPN Radio — miss roughly 30 of their local team’s games. Do the math: Benetti will call a minimum of 127 games for the Tigers, or 78% of the schedule. If Amin misses 13 of the Bulls’ 78 scheduled local broadcasts, he’ll call 83%. It’s not a big difference.

In the Sox’ defense, they allowed Benetti to become the voice of Peacock’s “MLB Sunday Leadoff” games in 2022. Later that year, they signed off on his move to Fox. But as Benetti’s national profile continued to grow, the Sox became uneasy and the relationship deteriorated. Benetti, who called 140 games for the Sox in 2018, became too big for them.

Now the Sox want someone to call all or most of their games. That could eliminate some worthy candidates. These days, prominent local announcers often have some sort of national package. It’s a stamp of approval for the broadcaster, as well as the local team, that he or she is good enough to work national events. For the team, granting that flexibility is the cost of doing business on that level.

The Sox could pull someone out of the minor leagues who’d drop everything for the opportunity, and maybe they’d get lucky. But if they want a quality broadcaster, that person likely will have another commitment to accommodate.

That makes Mike Monaco’s situation interesting. He’s the front-runner for the job, having made a favorable impression filling in on Sox and Bulls games in the last two years. But Monaco recently renewed his contract with ESPN for three years. He has called the College World Series and the Little League World Series for the network.

It would come down to a game of give and take in negotiations, which the Sox notoriously don’t conduct with broadcasters’ agents. The Sox are believed to be the only MLB team with that policy. Reinsdorf is expected to be involved personally, and talks with candidates figure to pick up in the next week.

In the meantime, fans are left to question why the rules for two broadcasters under one owner can be so different. The answer is likely what led Benetti to leave – a relationship that became irreparable.

Remote patrol

  • NBC Sports Chicago will air a supplementary telecast of 10 Blackhawks home games called HawkCast, featuring a camera focused solely on select Hawks players. All HawkCasts will air on NBCSCH+ with a separate broadcast team. The regular broadcast will air on the main channel. The first HawkCast will be Tuesday for the game against the Predators.
  • ESPN and TNT will combine broadcast crews for coverage of the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals Thursday. Mike Breen will call ESPN’s game with Doris Burke and TNT’s Reggie Miller. Kevin Harlan will call TNT’s game with Candace Parker and ESPN’s Doc Rivers. TNT’s “Inside the NBA” will follow and include ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon.
  • NASCAR announced a seven-year media deal Wednesday that begins in 2025 and adds Amazon’s Prime Video and TNT to incumbents Fox and NBC. Fox/FS1 and NBC/USA each will carry 14 Cup Series races; Prime Video and TNT will carry five each, plus every practice and qualifying session. Including the CW’s Xfinity Series deal, the agreements reportedly total $7.7 billion.
Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.