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I AM THE PERFECT REPLACEMENT FOR JASON BENETTI ON WHITE SOX CASTS
Unlike me, who blew off people in business bed with Jerry Reinsdorf, the popular broadcaster grew tired of the White Sox as an abomination and told the owner he was merrily off to the Detroit Tigers
If not for the messages he sent to Jewish attorneys that I am antisemitic, and if not for near-brawls with White Sox players who hated me in the clubhouse, and if not for Ken Williams threatening me on a hotel rooftop, and if not for Ken “Hawk” Harrelson torching me on telecasts and shoving me in Minnesota, and if not for ill feelings shown me on media releases — and if not for the longstanding disgust Jerry Reinsdorf rued for my earthly presence — I would apply for a job today.
No one is more worthy to become the team’s television play-by-play voice.
“Our broadcast bar is set very high,’’ said Sox marketing man Brooks Boyer. If they want someone to vilify the most abominable team in the major leagues, which might get a fan shot from a gun fired in the bleachers and might lose 110 games next season, then I’ll gladly justify the broadcast bar.
Jason Benetti quit the position because he grew sick of his life experience, because he resented Reinsdorf’s insistence that he not grow with other national broadcast duties, because he was tired of calling games for a club that suffered the steepest attendance decline in a 2023 season in which a pitch clock helped baseball regain fans. He can thank folks as he wants. “I have friends who I have met on White Sox Twitter who I will be friends with forever,” Benetti said. “They have shared things with me beyond the scope of anything I would have expected. I’m never going to not have Chicago in my heart.”
But he isn’t in Chicago anymore, off to Detroit, where he bolted for a team in a town thought to be beneath America’s third-largest market. Benetti left because he loathed Reinsdorf. Unlike me, he was under contract with the team, allowing me to hand back a ton of guaranteed money to a local paper, the since-bedraggled Sun-Times, whose bosses were in bed with the Sox wonks. He had to beg his way to the Tigers. I left, in a decision I’ve never regretted, placing personal credibility ahead of political juice that only led the corrupt editors to resignations or firings.
Can you believe they let Reinsdorf claim I’m prejudiced against Jewish people, that they let a player call me a “mother f—er” in a standoff blamed on me, that they let the club’s vice president get in my face while I was with friends, that they let Harrelson wage a silly war, that they let media director Scott Reifert fire at me on official company correspondence? What kind of organization were the Sox?
The worst in the sport, with Reinsdorf recently suggesting they could move to Nashville, which would be fine if the Country Music Awards won’t kill the Sox as a bad podunk song. Finally, this year, the owner got his. In a season of guilt, he finally lost his popular broadcaster, with rumors he didn’t like Benetti’s humor. Does Jerry know what comedy is?
“When we hired Jason years ago, there was probably plenty of social chatter of, ‘We just want Hawk in all the games,’ ” Boyer told MLB.com. “Nobody knew who (Benetti) was. That’s what we have to do now. Jason is moving on. We will move on and find someone really great to pair with Steve Stone.”
Forty-four years after winning the American League’s Cy Young Award, Stone will turn 77 next summer. Reinsdorf will turn 88 in February. They can bring me in next, speaking the truth on air. At which time, I’ll be called an antisemite and threatened on rooftops. The owner tried to get me fired on numerous occasions at the paper. I quit the stupid gig and helped my life.
So did Benetti.
Jay Mariotti, called “without question the most impacting Chicago sportswriter of the past quarter-century,’’ writes general sports columns for Substack while appearing on some of the 1,678,498 podcasts and shows in production today. He is an accomplished columnist, TV panelist and talk/podcast host. Living in Los Angeles, he gravitated by osmosis to film projects.