After eight seasons, beloved broadcaster Jason Bennett is leaving the Chicago White Sox for Detroit as the Tigers’ play-by-play announcer. Here’s what you need to know:
Benetti, 40, has signed a multiyear contract with the Tigers, the team said Thursday. The club did not disclose the contract. He appears on Tigers broadcasts on BallySports Detroit and calls at least 127 games each season. Benetti will continue his national broadcasting career with Fox, and longtime radio play-by-play voice Dan Dickerson will fill in for Benetti in the television booth in the event of a Tigers game.
One of the loudest voices in sports is coming to 313!
Popular broadcaster @jasonbenetti has signed a multi-year deal to be a TV game-by-game announcer.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) November 9, 2023
Why is Benetti leaving Chicago?
The year for the White Sox just got worse than hell.
It’s no secret that the relationship between the White Sox and Benetti, who got the call to ease Hall of Fame broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson into retirement before the 2016 season, has been a little confusing in recent years.
Starting at the top of the team, Benetti has always disliked balancing the Sox schedule with his national work, which covers college football and baseball, among other duties. So when he signed a two-year contract before last season, Benetti made it clear how many Sox games he might miss after what was described as a “type of illness.”
“That was the problem,” he said in an interview at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry last spring. “Then the games I missed were very unclear. It is not clear anymore. So we’re good. That was done. For me, I thought that the work could be improved, improved, better and better, and could raise the level of fairness and respect. And for some people, no. For some people it does.
Benetti’s relationship with White Sox chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer was strained by the conflict. The Sox, not the Tigers or Benetti, broke the news via X (formerly known as Twitter).
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) November 9, 2023
Benetti didn’t always feel he got the credit he deserved from some in the organization for his work on the air, from selling the rebuild in the minors, to making countless appearances for the organization, to giving the Sox a short stint. A sense of well-deserved prosperity. He worked hard on the broadcast and revived Steve Stone’s broadcasting career after his unsettled partnership with Harrelson.
Benetti, as those who know him know, is not shy about expressing his anger.
But despite his mixed relationship with the organization (of course, many people love him there and vice versa) and his national profile increased, Benetti was still associated with his childhood team. And if you’re on Sox Twitter, you know how popular it is.
“I don’t know if you’re going to do it, but I’m still here as Mold-a-Rama,” he told me in March. “There’s an undeniable allure (to the White Sox). You said it, I’m upset. But I’m still here and I’m like, ‘Why am I still doing this?’ I didn’t look around. I wouldn’t have done it. And they could go on. We didn’t because it was kind of like an emotional memory. It’s silly, but it’s true.”
From our trip to the museum last spring, I didn’t think Benetti would last long with this work, but I’m surprised it’s out now. And the Sox are worse for him. – John Greenberg, Chicago Senior Columnist
Benetti ushered in a new era of Tigers TV.
The Tigers’ TV booth has struggled for a sense of legitimacy since the departures of Mario Impemba and Rod Allen in 2018.
Shortly after the end of the 2023 season, the Tigers announced that Matt Sheppard – who was the player vote from 2019 to 2023 – would not be returning. Shepard never connected with Tigers fans, and polls often ranked the Tigers’ distribution among the worst in the league. It was no secret that something needed to change.
Benetti brings a new era to the TV booth as signs of a bright future emerge for the Tigers on the field. Benetti has a national presence and is considered one of the top broadcasters in the game. The Tigers needed a big hire, and this is it. – Cody Stavenhagen, Tigers staff writer
It is necessary to read
(Photo of Benetti (left) and Steve Stone (right): Ron Vesley / MLB Photos via Getty Images)