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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.