Jason Benetti grew up wanting to be the voice of the Chicago White Sox. That is why it was shocking to see him bail on the organization with a year remaining on his contract to take a job in Detroit. According to a recent report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the way he was treated by certain members of the front office may have factored into his decision.
Sources told the Sun-Times that a contentious relationship with the White Sox chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer sped up Benetti’s exit.
During an appearance on the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast Benetti compared himself to the city of Detroit. Benetti says Detroit is often “underestimated” which is something that he has dealt with his entire life due to his cerebral palsy.
It was a comparison that Benetti also made during his introductory press conference when it was first announced that he was taking the Tiger’s play-by-play job.
“I had somebody say to me when I asked for more respect, and basically demanded more respect just in the way I was being treated, they said, ‘Respect according to normal human beings or respect according to Jason Benetti?’ that is one of those things that I say, that’s disqualifying and will be for a long time. I’ll have a relationship, but I don’t want to do that long-term,” Benetti told Deitsch on the podcast.
The report from the Chicago Sun-Times alleges that “the somebody was Boyer.”
This comes after 670’s The Score Dan Bernstein said that one of the reasons Benetti left the White Sox was that Jerry Reinsdorf was not a fan of his style.
“Jerry doesn’t like his broadcasting,” Bernstein said “He doesn’t think he is funny.”
Part of what made Benetti so entertaining was his quick wit and ability to get the most out of his color analyst Steve Stone. One of the ways he was able to do that was through humor. Benetti cited his passion for analytics as a reason for choosing to go to Detroit. However, during his appearance on Deitch’s podcast, he also had an interesting quote about being able to have fun at the ballpark.
“They also want to have fun. They also want to enjoy the ballpark, they also want people to come every day and have a smile on their face,” Benetti said. “I do like to have fun. I do like to have a good time doing baseball and sometimes you’re gonna miss and sometimes you’re going to hit, but the stuff that happens in the ballpark is the most glorious part of doing baseball. And they want that. They didn’t say we’ll tolerate that. They said they want it.”
Losing one of the best play-by-play announcers to a division rival is hard but there were hints that Benetti’s relationship with the White Sox was beginning to sour.
Last offseason he compared his contract negotiations to going through arbitration as a player. There were also rumblings that the White Sox did not like Benetti missing White Sox games to work nationally televised games.
That was also something that Benetti acknowledged on Deitsch’s podcast.
“The Tigers and I know what I need to make Fox happy and the Tigers happy and the Tigers know that they’re getting in bed with that. So it’s just easier. And I don’t know that it necessarily was reflective of the White Sox. It’s simply the situation.”
This is the second time that the White Sox lead play-by-play announcer has left on unceremonious terms. During an appearance on A.J. Pierzynski’s Foul Territory podcast, Hawk Harrelson said that he didn’t retire.
“I got retired,” Harrelson said. “I got fired is what it all boils down to.”
It is beginning to look like Hawk wasn’t exaggerating.