With Steve Stone taking a break during the White Sox’ series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Jason Benetti has been able to recruit some star power in his partner’s place.
Bill Walton will take assuming the analyst position on Friday, and he gave everybody an idea of what will be in store by calling into the booth during the second half of Saturday night’s game. From where I sit, I hope I’m not expected to follow the banter between Walton and Benetti, because I spent the seventh inning largely zoning out.
I don’t expect to be all that entertained by Walton on Friday, although it should be more listenable when the game is unfolding between the both of them. But I’m loath to badmouth it, because I don’t want to stop the White Sox from getting adventurous with guests — especially when Jon Greenberg broke the news about who would be taking Stone’s spot during one of the other games:
Three other guest broadcasters will join Benetti for that series, and The Athletic has learned one of them is Mike Schur, the famous TV writer (and Mose Schrute actor) from “The Office” and the co-creator of “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” He is the executive producer and creator of the popular NBC show “The Good Place,” a show about morality and hell that should appeal to White Sox fans not-so-patiently waiting for another playoff appearance.
Under the nom de guerre Ken Tremendous, Schur wrote for the hilarious baseball criticism site named after the notoriously crotchety Morgan. (He also has a baseball podcast with Joe Posnanski and has written for The Athletic.)
FJM ended its glorious run on Nov. 13, 2008, a month after the Sox’s last playoff appearance. But if you read it, you’re thinking, “Ken Tremendous is in Hawk Harrelson’s booth? Who says 2019 is bad?”
It’s this pairing, not Benetti-Walton, that I have unreasonably high hopes for. I’m a fan of Schur’s work in all forms, so I’m going to want him to work out, even if there’s a sizable chance that both broadcasts have listeners rushing back into Stone’s arms come next week.
That said, just like we’d rather see the White Sox use the dog days of a rebuilding season on prospects who might stumble in their first attempts at major-league glory, I love seeing the Sox taking a what-the-hell attitude on a couple of one-off pairings on low-stakes games that could pay dividends down the road, directly or indirectly. Benetti brings an open mind, an eclectic contact list and willingness to experiment, and maybe one or two of those things can sneak out of the broadcast booth and into other parts of the organization.
From yesterday’s experience, I can tell I don’t like this Walton idea. But it was a small sample size…right?
He and Benetti have done college basketball together before and the result was about as weird as you can expect.
Basically, there will be some long diatribes that have nothing to do with the game, some of which will be entertaining.
Walton was a great basketball analyst in the 90s and the classic NBA on NBC era. He should be interesting with Benetti. I don’t understand why Walton isn’t still calling NBA games.
The research seems to suggest that tapering down in-season is doing it wrong. McCann’s right about that kind of rest training the body to a lower workload. Bauer’s program of an intense offseason training program, a Spring Training recovery period, and a sustained maintenance program during the regular season is better.
As aging athletes blithering nonsense into microphones go, Walton has more enthusiasm for his surroundings than Harrelson did for most of the last decade, and less coherence than Paciorek has during his guest stints.
It probably won’t happen this trip, but the booth of Benetti, Eduardo Perez, and MLB analyst Mike Petriello is pretty good together, and would be my choice for the TV team whenever Steve Stone steps away.
He’s a great basketball analyst. I think it’s hard for a younger audience to relate to him, but he is smart basketball mind.
I’m not all that young and he drives me nuts. I’m old enough to remember him both as a college player and during his injury-riddled NBA career. I said in a comment on another thread that I think the 77 Blazers were one of the truly great NBA teams I’ve ever seen. He was also great as a sub with the Celtics at the end of his career. I believe Bill Walton knows a lot more about basketball than I do. However, I only follow two teams closely: the Sox and Illini basketball. Last year in Maui, Walton’s complete unwillingness to pay attention to the game wore thin very quickly for me.
I opened the FJM blog and clicked on the October 2005 entry. The Darin Erstad stuff is pure gold.
Will it be just Jason and Schur? Or will they add another baseball guy?
Being a White Sox fan living in LA is great for watching games, since I’m usually only blacked out from the Angels series, and I can watch and root for the Dodgers without much conflict of interest, but missing out on randos announcing with Benetti kinda saddens me…
Anyway, sports blackout rules are annoying.