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The Best of Wimpy and Benetti, Vol. 2

It’s been said there’s no crying in baseball — but that aphorism didn’t anticipate your broadcast partner making barnyard noises during the farm report

The Ham From Hamtramck: Apropos of the entire series, Wimpy forces Jason into a desperate search for the cough button, to staunch his snickers.
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

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:

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.

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:

The preposterousness of the onesie promotion came up both Tuesday and Wednesday:

Taking the piss outta Ron Kittle was a theme for the series:

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.

After this exchange on Tuesday, Benetti deliberately created a dumb-as-rocks Sox Math for Wimpy, which was essentially: Ryan LaMarre’s uniform number.

On both Tuesday and Wednesday, Wimpy chided the height discrepancy between Ricky Renteria and Lucas Giolito:

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.