Friction In The Booth…

In recent months I’ve written about sports ownership a little and given the fans perspective of a couple of owners here in Chicago. One of those owners is Jerry Reinsdorf. Well, about a month ago Jason Benetti left the White Sox booth to call games in Detroit for the Tigers. This got me thinking about Jerry and how disliked he is yet again.

Then, last week Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun-times wrote a piece asking why Benetti was treaded differently than Adam Amin who is a Bulls broadcaster. In my opinion Agrest’s article last week opened the door for more discussion about if Reinsdorf really does treat employees who are loyal equally therefore making it an appropriate time for me to give my full opinion of the mess on the South Side especially since Jason opened up in this article by Tori Rubinstein, among others, three weeks ago sharing details about his decision to leave Guaranteed Rate Field in the rear view mirror as “home”.

Three weeks ago Benetti made a comment about the goal I already knew the Tigers had with their telecast in Rubinstein’s article. Their goal is, “…making sure that fans who don’t understand analytics have the opportunity to, if they want to.” I knew this because I’ve heard other broadcasters say it a few times over the last couple years.

However, even as a fan who understands analytics there are certain metrics I would not be able to understand to other fans if asked. Benetti clearly believes he has something to contribute in that could help Detroit get to their goal. Having watched only a few White Sox telecasts he was on in recent years I’d definitely say he will be great in Detroit become have the best telecast in all of Major League Baseball which is another goal of theirs.

How does this all relate to the dislike of Jerry Reinsdorf you ask? Simple, in between Rubinstein’s article and Agrest’s article Bulls broadcaster Adam Amin missed the first three games of a road trip to call the Michigan State-Arizona basketball game on Thanksgiving and the Panthers-Titans game a couple days later. As Agrest’s explained in his article baseball broadcasters call 78% of their  teams games if they have a national commitment while basketball broadcasters with similar commitments call 83% of games. That is not a huge difference and considering there are baseball games it makes sense that the percentage would be slightly lower.

Here’s the thing folks: Benetti is a Chicago guy born and raised down the road a piece, in Homewood, and he was working his dream job as a sports broadcaster for the team he grew up rooting for. However, as a result of the mess that Jerry created a few years ago insisting Tony LaRussa be manager Benetti saw an opportunity to grow in his career by taking part in something special. So, he decided to take his skills as a broadcaster elsewhere since he did not like where things were headed at Guaranteed Rate.

Don’t misunderstand me as a sports fan I understand and agree with White Sox fans who are still voicing their annoyances with Reinsdorf for not doing his part to keep Benetti in Chicago when he always has kept those who are loyal to him and his organizations. Unfortunately, in this case though, the timing was just not right for Jerry to worry about the broadcast team when the White Sox can barely field a competitive team.

With that… let the analytical conversation do the talking the next few years in Detroit.

If you cannot play with them, then root for them.

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