Ripple Effect: Bill Walton To Join Benetti In White Sox Booth Friday
White Sox play-by-play broadcaster Jason Benetti and Basketball HOFer Bill Walton will "reunite for a White Sox-Angels game" on Friday after the pair called college basketball's Maui Invitational last November, according to Phil Rosenthal of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Benetti and Walton's call from Maui was "full of weird and wacky tangents," making for "utterly riveting TV." Walton is filling in for Benetti's regular announcing partner, Steve Stone, who is "skipping the four-game Aug. 15-18 series." Benetti said he is "over the moon" about calling baseball with Walton. Benetti: "When he said yes, there was a fist pump" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/9). In Chicago, Steve Greenberg wrote Walton "sees Benetti's nice and raises him a whole lot of weird." Greenberg: "Good weird, of course. Pretty much everybody loves, enjoys or at least gets a kick out of Walton ... who is easily the greatest combo of basketball legend, stream-of-consciousness yakker and skyscraping Deadhead ever to roam the Earth" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/10). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, “I dare to say that Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Walton is not qualified to call a Major League Baseball game.” ESPN's Jon Weiner: “You don't think he's deserving? He's a legendary, dare I say, Hall of Fame broadcaster who can fill time like no one else in our industry” (“The Dan Le Batard Show,” ESPN Radio, 8/12).
COUSIN MOSE: THE ATHLETIC's Jon Greenberg noted three other "guest broadcasters will join Benetti" for the four-game series, including Mike Schur, who has worked on sitcoms including "The Office," "Parks and Recreation" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Schur wrote for the Fire Joe Morgan blog "under the nom de guerre Ken Tremendous." He also "has a baseball podcast with Joe Posnanski and has written for The Athletic." Benetti had "no prior relationship with Schur before asking him to be his broadcast partner for a game." The pair will call White Sox-Angels on Saturday, which "should be entertaining for the small slice of the Sox audience who actually knows" who Schur is (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/10).