Well, it was another round of delightful banter between Chicago White Sox play-by-play man Jason Benetti and substitute color man/man of 1,000 minus 999 voices Tom “Wimpy” Paciorek.
The affection in this intergenerational pairing is obvious, as is the delight the two show in working together. As a ham-first analyst, Wimpy gets to explore the full studio space of foolishness — a luxury that sneaky-fun regular color man Steve Stone is not afforded.
The Benetti-Stone pairing is fun, familiar, and informative. Benetti paired with Wimpy is just as it should be: A breath of fresh air, some silly stories and, by the way, some cogent analysis.
During the @SouthSideSox tweetstorm of Benetti-Wimpy nuggets, we received exactly one dour reply:
I don't watch many Sox broadcasts, watched it last night.— Scott Lindholm (@ScottLindholm) August 15, 2018
I was embarrassed by what I heard from Tom Paciorek. His #hot #sports #takes were firmly rooted in the 1980s, completely unencumbered by anything that's happened in the past 30 years on any level.
This is not to pick on Scott, but his criticism completely whiffs on the point of bringing Wimpy in.
Obviously, Paciorek is an entertainer first. But to reduce him to being “firmly rooted in the 1980s” etc. also implies he offers nothing as an analyst. This simply isn’t true.
Beyond context he can provide as a former player and broadcaster — more than five decades in the game, as Hawk might say — Wimpy chimed in with plenty of value in terms of nitty-gritty analysis:
- Paciorek correctly anticipated Jeanmar Gómez going to the outside for the game-winner in the ninth on Tuesday after pounding Nicholas Castellanos — exactly the sort of pitch Stone would have anticipated.
- When Benetti instructed Wimpy on exit velocity, the same point he’s made with Stone, Wimpy listened.
- Paciorek didn’t just dismiss headfirst sliding in grumpy-man mode, he explained why it wasn’t a good idea.
- In self-deprecating himself in response to a Benetti question about his hustle on the basepaths, Wimpy broadened his answer to point out that hustling always makes sense, because “somebody’s always watching.”
- The pair addressed (both sides) of the great “checkmark” controversy regarding call-ups of plum White Sox prospects.
- Paciorek took a twist on the notion that every player wants to sacrifice playing time to win (aka deadline deals to contenders).
Yes, he played a lot of his analysis for laughs, but his personality shines even brighter than his ability as an analyst. If that’s embarrassing, well, you know, Scott, baseball itself can be pretty friggin’ embarrassing, whether you’re rooted in the 1950s or 2010s.
We put one of these together last time around with Benetti and Wimpy, and if you’re so inclined, here’s a look back at Vol. 1.
Wimpy & @jasonbenetti: Muscatine, YES!— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
Wimpy: That was for you, Hawk. They got all his money in Muscatine, I know that. Most of it. None of mine.
Hawk used to say the easiest part is beating Wimpy. Try to collect, that's a problem. You gotta catch him.
For those White Sox fans also familiar with the Bob Newhart Show, earlier in the game Wimpy called Richie Zisk "Mr. Carlin"— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
Not sure how that reflects on Richie, but apparently he was a bit grumpy, depressed or chisely as a Mariners teammate.
.@jasonbenetti: You saw when [Adam Engel's] helmet came off, by the way, his hair's gone.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
Wimpy: Yes. Looks good. I like it.
Benetti: Adam—no joke—he did it himself.
Wimpy: [Big laugh] No kidding.
Benetti: He did.
Wimpy: Hard to believe.
Benetti: He said he was sick of his hair.
.@jasonbenetti: ...young players who have been in the minors for longer than you might prefer.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
Wimpy: And they're ready, too. And you hope they don't get deinsensit-, deinsentified, whatever that word is.
Wimpy: Yeah, bored, playing against guys they're much better than
This was a pretty awesome exchange, with Wimpy first mocking the completely common nature of the trivia, then dogging the guy who submitted inaccurate information:
.@jasonbenetti: 2 sac flies, I was reminded by 1 of our Twitter followers is an MLB record.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
Wimpy: [LAUGHS] Great call. Thank you. I love it.
JB: People think Twitter's all bad.
Wimpy: Yup. We saw history tonight. Of course, it's happened another 200,000 times.
JB: Don't ruin it
WIMPY: Nick, get out of the oven if you can't take the heat—is that what we're saying?@jasonbenetti: That is a new phrase that you've just invented. Nick, why are you in the oven? Get out!— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
JB: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen ...
The preposterousness of the onesie promotion came up both Tuesday and Wednesday:
[@jasonbenetti reading White Sox "onesie giveaway day" copy]— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
WIMPY: Ooh. [LAUGHS] Really?! That looks great!
JB: If you could only see Wimpy looking at the monitor, examining to see if he'd want one.
WIMPY: You gotta get me one of those.
JB: A onesie?
WIMPY: A onesie.
Taking the piss outta Ron Kittle was a theme for the series:
[After talk of @nakedbiker's 700 ft HR]@jasonbenetti: Can you woodwork like Kittle?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
WIMPY: Oh no, good grief, he can make a house out of bats.
JB: Every time there's a ceremony at the park, somebody gets something Kitty made. Congratulations, @JermaineDye, here's a log cabin!
WIMPY: People in Mich. love [Tigers broadcaster Jim Price].@jasonbenetti: SRO, they stopped selling tickets for his booth.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
WIMPY: Kinda like he's the Ed Farmer [LAUGHS]...congenial...lovable.
JB: Uh-huh. [PAUSE] You said ED Farmer.
WIMPY: No I meant Fred Farmer, his twin brother
[ENGEL HR CALL: Here I come to save the day!]@jasonbenetti: 2-4 tonight, HR robberies all week, a HR yesterday...— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
WIMPY: ..great haircut
JB: & now, Mighty Mouse
WIMPY: We gotta work on that
JB: My timing was poor
WIMPY: You don't have the experience I do making a fool of myself
JB: You don't want people who say "I want to be part of a winner"?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 14, 2018
WIMPY: Only if I'm playing, I want to be part of a winner.
JB: I know why you're not a GM, because the guys who say "I want to be part of a winning team" are not welcome in your clubhouse.
WIMPY: [My hometown of] Hamtramck, great Polish restaurants if anybody's visiting the Detroit area...@jasonbenetti: People turned on the Sox game and said, "I wonder where I can get good Polish food where the Sox are playing tonight...— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: And it's real cheap too, like I am.
WIMPY: Root canals are really fun, I've had about 30 of them@jasonbenetti: Have you set the MLB record for root canals?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: I can take my teeth out right now and show you
JB: This is one of those moments I'm glad we don't have a camera in the booth...thanks for the offer, tho
.@jasonbenetti: Welcome back to Comerica Big Top, after the ... wild and wooly defense of the home team.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: I you like good baseball, you're gonna hate this replay we're gonna show ya.
JB: You're asking people to brace themselves.
WIMPPY: That's as bad as it gets right here.
WIMPY: Don't use your teeth. Trust me, they'll fall out, like mine.@jasonbenetti: See what happens is you get that little piece of plastic that you chip off and have to spit in front of you like she just did.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: I feel a root canal coming here.
JB: The freeze pop root canal pic.twitter.com/EUQQPslLlI
It was really too long to tweet out, but Paciorek was pretty impressed with Daniel Palka’s deadpan comedy, which finds him apparently taking on some form of the Jon Lovitz’s SNL “Liar” character. By Wednesday, Benetti and Wimpy were both taking turns inventing new legends for Palka, like “rec league soccer legend,” etc. Best running gag of the series, especially as it consistently made the other laugh.
[@Danielbpalka's dribbler single]— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
.@jasonbenetti: So I know you love exit velocity...
WIMPY: I do?
WIMPY: Yeah, OK.
JB: Palka was 111 mph off the bat on his first ball for an RBI single. Off the bat on this one—
JB: 23 mph—it could drive in a school zone.
After this exchange on Tuesday, Benetti deliberately created a dumb-as-rocks Sox Math for Wimpy, which was essentially: Ryan LaMarre’s uniform number.
.@jasonbenetti: Sox Math ... for 3 seasons now, torturing Tom Paciorek.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: [Hawk voice] I hate Sox Math.
JB: You do?
WIMPY: [Hawk voice] I do!
JB: Little did I know, a childhood dream would be fulfilled and torn apart, our trivia quiz...
WIMPY: You created it.
[Talk of Victor Alcántara's great outing Mon.]— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: That Elcontrera—is that his name?@jasonbenetti: Nope
WIMPY: Good. Something like that
JB: You were very close ... I wasn't going to say anything if you didn't ask
WIMPY: Al Contrera
JB: That's Au Contraire plus Alcántara
.@jasonbenetti: Mike Hall, by the way, was as excited as anybody I've [ever] met or known to meet you.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: [HUGE LAUGH]
JB: He was like, over the moon that you were yelling "in the hole" on his golf shots.
WIMPY: I like people who have low standards.
[Throwers and Tom trivia]@jasonbenetti: At which ballpark did you have the highest average?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: I'm gonna say Metrodome
JB: You saw the ball well there?
WIMPY: No. But I remember getting some hits there. I take it there will be no parting gifts?
[Answer: Jarry Park]
On both Tuesday and Wednesday, Wimpy chided the height discrepancy between Ricky Renteria and Lucas Giolito:
WIMPY: [Chuckling] ...and there's the hug ... next time, you oughta get on a stepladder or something, Ricky. pic.twitter.com/HUHBb8oCaf— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
JB: I don't want you to be my codebreaker if any war breaks out— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: Please don't
JB: You never stole 1 sign in your life?
WIMPY: I can't remember
JB: It's all patterns! How are you with Rubik's Cubes?
WIMPY: Real bad
JB: I figured as much
WIMPY: [as HAWK] I hate Rubik's Cubes
JB: I've been told those are fireworks across the border, in Canada.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: Is it Boxer Day?
JB: Think you mean Boxing Day.
WIMPY: Boxing Day, whatever.
JB: They're celebrating Joe Louis [on] Boxer Day.
WIMPY: I don't know how you can do that—these kids do it all day long ... these things only cost about 10 grand each.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
JB: Where do you shop for your video games? I think they may be inflating the price a little bit.
.@jasonbenetti: Jordan Zimmermann, from Auburndale, WI, went to UW-Stephens Point, Wisconsin native through and through.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: Baseball hotbed up there, isn't it? They played at least three weeks out of the year.
JB: He's gotta have a fresh arm, right?
JB: Thing is, when you do a promo in a voice that's not yours, it's great.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: I hate my voice.
JB: John Wayne, Vin Scully, the other impressions that sound like Vin Scully ...
WIMPY: I'm giving up.
WIMPY: "That slider reminds me of Steve Carlton in his prime, right there." https://t.co/hzZC4vogyt— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 16, 2018
.@jasonbenetti: I'd forgotten Dominik Hasek won a Cup [with Detroit] in 2003. And '08, to end his career.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: [Inspector Clouseau voice] I know that.
JB: You do?
WIMPY: No. [LAUGHS] I know Gordie Howe was really good.
JB: OK, your hockey knowledge is deepening by the moment.
WIMPY: With Carlos, that [slider] just keeps digging [WMPWMP]— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: Great sound effects, huh?@jasonbenetti: Was gonna say you have a future as a slider
WIMPY: Art Kusnyer's so ashamed of me, he does the best sound effects in the world & I come up w/that?
JB: That was high level
WIMPY: You know you have taken a bad swing when you hit a ball right off the end of the bat. Nothing behind it. You pretty much did everything wrong, flew open. Not to be ultra critical about that.@jasonbenetti: Very positive: You know, you did everything wrong.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: You heard about that guy who cheated so much in golf, he got a hole-in-one and wrote down a zero? I know him.@jasonbenetti: You do? His last name Paciorek?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: No, I never got a hole-in-one.
.@jasonbenetti: What were you thinking on a ball [you hit] in the gap?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: Please don't let me trip. [LAUGHS] No, I ran hard. You gotta run hard. Somebody's looking. Somebody's watching you. Especially with my talent, they're looking for excuses to get rid of you.
.@jasonbenetti: You were 4-for-19 against Mark Clear in your career, I'm told.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: Really, that good? That's about .200, isn't it?
JB: Aim high, Wimpy.
.@jasonbenetti: Remarkably consistent.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: I did not know that. Who hit the same on the--
BOTH: Stan Musial
WIMPY: Course, he hit .333. A little better than me.
JB: You're like Stan Lite
[inning-end double play]
JB: All you gotta do is go shopping for Wimpy and the inning ends pic.twitter.com/aJS3w1kBNa
This might have been the funniest moment of the series, as Paciorek, for some reason, punch-drunk some 24 innings into the series perhaps, took to supplying a soundtrack of animal noises as Jason attempted to read this simple copy:
Not often have I heard a broadcaster essentially unable to talk from laughter, but Benetti was right there on Wednesday.
WIMPY: When I think of accordions, I think of my good friend, John Smoltz.— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
JB: You do?
WIMPY: What a swinger he must've been. He played an accordion growing up, and decided later to become a Hall of Fame pitcher. I wonder how many times he got beat up when he was a kid.
JB: Does the invitation have your name on it, or is it "Current Resident?"— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: "Admit One"
.@jasonbenetti: A lot of farms in Hamtramck?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: No, not many. We used to jump from porch to porch so, not a whole lot of room to plow. We had to keep the donkeys in the garage, along with the Studebaker.
WIMPY: Heck, you might find lightning in a bottle [w/a knuckler] & become an outstanding pitcher for a long time. Sparky! Steve Sparks, from Detroit. He had nothing [before becoming a knuckleballer]. Sorry, Sparky. [LAUGHS]@jasonbenetti: Are you, though?— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 15, 2018
WIMPY: [LAUGHS HARDER]