Steve Stone tipped his cap to the White Sox for bringing a play-by-play voice with local ties to the broadcast booth. And he couldn’t be more grateful to them for setting up a meeting with his new home-games partner, 32-year-old Jason Benetti.
“It was something they didn’t have to do but they thought enough of the time of we will spend together to make sure all was well, and it absolutely could not have been better,’’ Stone said of his recent dinner with Benetti at a Scottsdale, Ariz., restaurant near his winter home. “He’s a prize, and now he’s home to be with the White Sox. I couldn’t be happier.”
Stone, a former Cy Young winner entering his ninth season with the Sox, has struggled at times to click with Harrelson – although the chemistry between the former players has improved somewhat in the last season or two – and is eager to see Benetti flourish calling games from U.S. Cellular Field. It was known that Stone, who agreed to a multiyear extension, would likely return in 2016 after his contract expired.
The deal was announced Wednesday along with a multiyear extension for Harrelson, who will work 78 road games and three at home while Benetti takes the bulk of Sox home games.
“A couple of things really jump out at you. He is incredibly smart and has a terrific sense of humor, which I found very engaging,’’ Stone said Wednesday. “The viewers will see a phenomenal passion for the game. He has the ability to broadcast anything but I think his number one passion is baseball.
“I just felt immediately comfortable with him and this is absolutely a great hire by the White Sox organization. I couldn’t be happier. They got a real good broadcaster.’’
Sox fans are no doubt eager to see a chemistry develop between Benetti and Stone and to gain a sense of Benetti’s style, which he said will incorporate the use of statistics and advanced metrics when appropriate.
“I like to bring everything. Everything possible,’’ Benetti said. “[Metrics are] something Steve and I talked about, when we have a chance we will do it.
“[Statistics are a] component but also some of the best parts of baseball broadcasts is there is a story. And Steve has played with so many players, you have to find creative ways to have him tell those stories and trace back to what he has done. And so I like having a good time and talking about other stuff as well, if there is stuff of interest going on. If it’s a blowout game, we’ll bring that in. To disregard anything that could be relevant is not something I like to do.’’
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