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An Open Letter to Jason Benetti

South Side Sox is hurting a little more today

Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The White Sox released a statement Thursday morning that felt like a TKO of the already weakened White Sox fan base. As a staff, and fans of the team, we’ve all been flinching when we see any statement from the team, or when a Slack notification comes in. Losing the likes of Liam Hendriks and Tim Anderson in a span of a few days hurt. But losing someone who can never be replaced? Brutal.

Thank you for the last eight seasons. Your way of carrying fans through the best, but also the worst games is a talent that will never be matched. There are so many reasons to celebrate you. One of my favorite memories was during the pandemic, when you recorded videos for fans via Twitter. I can’t speak for everyone, but I imagine your friendly voice helped so many in a time of uncertainty.

One personal impact you’ve had on my family is being a role model for my son. Because of you, he is interested in going into sports broadcasting. He’ll go off to high school next fall and begin a program called Principles in Broadcasting to begin the journey for all four years of high school and give him a leg up in college. Your impact on him has likely set the course for his dream job.

Another is the awareness you’ve raised and the “you can do anything” attitude in regards to cerebral palsy is nothing short of inspiring. As someone who had a sister with disabilities, I see you as a pioneer and inspiration for anyone living with a disorder or disability.

One last thing before I go: I will never forget your amazing broadcast with Bill Walton.

You’re the best in the biz, Jason, and will be sorely missed by White Sox fans. Thank you for everything.

Chrystal O’Keefe

It has been a pleasure having you as the voice of my favorite team for the past eight years. Your mix of enthusiasm and knowledge always made White Sox games enjoyable to tune into, even when the team was struggling. In particular, the final out of Lucas Giolito’s no-hitter and the go-ahead home run by Eloy Jiménez at Wrigley Field are two of my favorite calls of all time. You should be proud of everything you have given White Sox fans.

In addition to the television broadcasts, I will never forget all the excitement that SoxMath brought me. It was an honor to meet you at SoxFest by being able to participate in the festivities. That was truly a unique experience, and I am grateful for every bit of it.

Best of luck with the new job. There is no doubt in mind that you will continue to be fantastic.

Joe Resis

You are the best in the business, and it’s difficult to form coherent thoughts about what you mean to fans of the South Side baseball team. For nearly a decade you were the voice of South Side baseball. For those of us who grew up on Hawk Harrelson, you had some very large shoes to fill. It didn’t take you very long to win us over, as you made the broadcast your own. You quickly endeared yourself to a new generation of Sox fans as we entered what was supposed to be a new era of fun, winning baseball. Your wit, personality, and vast knowledge of the sport kept many fans company as we endured the miserable rebuilding years and the even more miserable so-called contention years. You were there with us for some of the worst moments on the diamond over the past decade, and some of the very best. You were one of us.

Opening Twitter this morning was a gut punch. Meager words cannot express the levels to which you will be missed. The team I grew up loving and have followed my entire life just let the last great thing they had going for them walk out the door. This one hurts.

Losing an immense talent like you always felt inevitable to me. We were lucky to have you for as long as we did.

Best of luck Jason, you truly are the best.


Thank you for being one of the best parts of being a White Sox fan over the last eight seasons. Good, bad, or ugly, I knew that at least you would be on the call for it all.

Your ability to eloquently speak on this franchise speaks volumes about how much of a fan you truly are. I know in this line of work, fandom is often shunned, but I know that it was appreciated by all of us as fans. We will miss you on the South Side and wish you luck in Detroit. I know those fans will be able to love you almost as much as White Sox fans do.

Dante Jones

You already know that you’re one of the most in-demand talents in the broadcast booth, and in eight short years, you became not only ubiquitous with the White Sox but, for me, one of the sole reasons even to watch a game.

Despite never meeting you, every game felt like I was meeting an old friend and taking in a White Sox game, and win or lose, you made it an enjoyable and interactive experience in a way that very few can match.

While your moving on has given me just one more reason to be annoyed with the Chicago White Sox, I’m happy as hell that you’re getting a chance to work with an organization that appreciates you fully, and — let’s be honest — looks to have a much brighter future.

Tommy Barbee

You were one of us.

Not because it was your job. Not because you found your way into the professional passion that good announcers can find for the team that hired them.

It was because you understood us in a way that only a White Sox-loving kid from Homewood could.

It was because you had institutional memory as a White Sox fan that taught you to celebrate successes when they came because we know that the South Side doesn’t see them often. When the team was doing well, your enthusiasm was as evident as it was sincere — you didn’t have to reach for it. When the team wasn’t doing well, you kept the audience afloat with eloquence and humor. Even during a 101-loss season, listening to your call was a treat.

And because you were one of us, I have to imagine that you were keenly aware of the heartbreak that comes with the territory. The frustration that is born from enduring a one-sided love affair with a team that doesn’t love you back. For many of us, it is an unrequited love that becomes too much to bear in the end.

Your departure hurts, but I think most of us can understand, at least a little.

Do you know why?

It’s because you were, until the very end, one of us.

Jacki Krestel

You grew up on this team, and got to play out a dream job for years. Not many of us have that privilege. But you never took that great fortune for granted, and always made fans feel as if you were sitting in the stands or at home with us; you just happened to be smarter and cleverer than most of us when it came to talking about the game.

During my time at South Side Sox, you were at the forefront almost from the start. I believe the first standalone feature I published from our staff was about you. A year later, Joe Resis — who I invited to South Side Sox based first on his #SoxMath prowess — detailed his trip to visit you and Steve. We’ve also had numerous features detailing your work with guest comedians analysts, like Tom Paciorek and Bill Walton.

And it’s the latter that really stands out to me. You were a fan of the White Sox, but also someone who appreciated not just the history of the team, but of the broadcast. That you could slide right into a game with one of your childhood “friends,” Wimpy, and not miss a beat (while making Tom feel enough at ease to immediately hit his stride) is no small feat. It speaks to your love of the team, and more so your appreciation for the craft you’ve now mastered, behind the microphone.

We won’t do better. Tragic might be a bit dramatic for a broadcaster’s job switch, but emotions are high. And we’ll quite literally never run across another broadcaster so suited for this job.

Brett Ballantini

You are one of the greatest announcers in baseball today. That fact that is undeniable. You’ve got charm and wit, and connects with fans in a way I’ve honestly never seen an announcer do before. That makes it all the sadder for me that you’re leaving for the Tigers. You deserve no ill will, as you put your heart and soul into announcing for the White Sox, and had you been here forever I think a lot of fans would be surprised — you always have been destined for greater things. It hurts regardless, but to see you leave now, after all that’s gone on with this team in recent years, the decision makes sense. I personally will miss all of your goofy antics with Steve Stone, the Nationwide jingle, and the way you made Sox games fun even in losing efforts. I hope Detroit treats you well, and hopefully soon enough your passion will be recognized and you’ll be the voice of the World Series or Sunday Night Baseball; if there’s one thing you deserve, it’s for people to see and hear you on the biggest stages in the sport.

Lily Hass

Perhaps it’s just dumb luck that you got the White Sox gig at a young age and had been a fan of the team all your life. What’s amazing is that you held your dream job but never let that knowledge of your great fortune get away from you. Sure, Vin Scully is the bard of broadcasters, and there are ace analysts, homespun cornpone favorites, and booming voices suited better for live stage than catbird seat. But what you have done better than anyone in White Sox history (OK, Harry Caray was one of a kind) and, very likely, broadcast history was make clear how much FUN you were having in your dream job.

That seems like a no-brainer, but you’re a student of not just the game but of broadcasting. What percentage of broadcasters, in whatever sport, make as clear their love of game and privilege of job as you? Be honest. The number fits on one hand, maybe two.

We were lucky to have you, and I know you feel lucky to have us.

We will miss you dearly.

Year of the Hamster

When you first started announcing for this team, I was 14. I remember younger me being so sad that Hawk Harrelson was retiring, and I knew there were big shoes to fill. You did exactly that, and created an entertaining broadcast to listen to every game, even in the not-so-fun years of the rebuild. Throughout the years I could recognize your voice anywhere. I’d be watching a random college game and feel like a proud mom: Hey, that’s our guy! It truly just felt like a comfort being able to listen to you broadcast a game. That’s the best way to describe it. Being able to grow up as a fan of this team and then later be a part of it is a childhood dream that you lived out for all of us. Thank you for being a constant bright spot in this organization, and I hope you continue to do just that for the Tigers and their fans.

Hannah LaMotta


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