Despite a global pandemic, 2020 was a fruitful year for the Chicago White Sox. The club made it back to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, several players racked up individual awards, and the product on the field was thoroughly enjoyable.
Even though fans were unable to attend games, the excitement surrounding the team was palpable. A big reason for that? Play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti. The TV voice of the White Sox brought an energy to the broadcast that perfectly matched the buzz on the field game in and game out. And now he’s getting recognized for it.
Yesterday, NSMA Sports Media announced Benetti as the 2020 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year.
Benetti, a Chicagoland native, takes pride in serving as the sound of summer for the South Side faithful. The Homewood product also spent a bit of time filling in as the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bulls in addition to his duties for ESPN.
While Benetti’s endeavors span across several sports and networks, he’s a mainstay of NBC Sports Chicago’s White Sox broadcasts. In honor of his latest award, here are a few of Jason Benetti’s most memorable calls from the White Sox 2020 season.
Lucas Giolito’s No-Hitter vs. Pittsburgh
In a bizarre 2020 MLB season, Benetti and Steve Stone were on the call for the first no-hitter of Lucas Giolito’s young career. A dominant night for the big righty complemented by some excellent defensive plays was taken in by a stadium full of cardboard cutouts. During the broadcast, fans could hear the emotion and excitement in Benetti’s voice. Despite an empty stadium, Benetti emphatically helped deliver a memory that will last a lifetime for White Sox fans.
All season long, the baseball community raved about how lethal the White Sox lineup was. Power from top to bottom instilled fear into opposing pitchers. In a mid-August matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals, the South Siders showed off their pop in domineering fashion. Four straight homers from the meat of their order drained any confidence the visitors’ pitching staff had. The broadcast team was there to capture it all, and Benetti seemed to have a blast with the series of events.
La Pantera Liveliness
This may not be a specific moment, but Benetti’s ability to enhance the excitement surrounding rookie superstar Luis Robert paralleled that of White Sox fans everywhere. Viewers could tell that when Robert did something miraculous or hit a ball from here to Detroit, Benetti was just as in awe as people watching at home. Check out all of Robert’s best moments in the video below while taking in the commentary of Benetti himself.
The White Sox fan base has been hungry for success for over a decade. The team’s competitive window finally opened in 2020, solidified by earning their first postseason birth since 2008. In the clinching game against the Twins in mid-September, Benetti delivered a heartfelt message that will stick with White Sox fans for years to come as Luis Robert hauled in the final out.
“In a year when so many of us have had to be apart, we all will journey together into October with the White Sox for the first time in 12 years! The Sox are going to the playoffs!”
That victorious proclamation was a sound for sore ears all across the South Side, and Benetti delivered it with perfection. Chills.
Broadcasting is an art form. It’s not just about calling a game and describing what happens during a play, it’s about creating an experience for the fan base at home that lives and dies by their team. Benetti possesses the ability to make a routine groundball sound like something adventurous. He has the talent to make fans feel like they’re at the park with him. Most importantly, folks tuning in can notice just how much Benetti cares about the White Sox. The emotion behind his voice is no act, but instead a direct representation of how he feels about the team that employs him.
Taking everything into account, Benetti winning the 2020 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year award was a well-deserved honor. The 2021 season and beyond will certainly be filled with movie quotes, bad jokes, and not-so-terrible singing from the boys in the booth. Congratulations to Jason Benetti on a job always well done and a new addition to his list of accolades.