Jason Benetti, ESPN college sports commentator and Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN Sports play-by-play voice for the Chicago White Sox, will call his first nationally televised MLB game for ESPN tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday Night Baseball when the Washington Nationals visit the Los Angeles Dodgers.
ESPN’s Global Game series, which celebrates various cultural influences on the game of baseball, also will return for WNB this week with a focus on Mexico. Benetti, who will be calling the game with ESPN MLB analysts Rick Sutcliffe and Doug Glanville, will interview a variety of guests with ties to baseball in Mexico.
Benetti recently spoke with Front Row about his upcoming ESPN MLB debut.
What are you looking forward to most in calling a nationally-televised MLB game on ESPN?
I grew up with ESPN Baseball as a part of my life. Baseball Tonight first, then the Sunday Night Baseball game. Or Wednesday Night Baseball after SportsCenter. It always felt really important. To be a part of something that has been a national phenomenon is outstanding. Plus, I love doing national games because of the time we spend getting to know both teams.
How will it differ from your work with the Chicago White Sox?
When you’re calling a national telecast, you really get in deep with both teams. You see the game through the prism of each team’s ecosystem. Thorough, well-researched. But your understanding of the team you’re with day-to-day is even deeper than that.
What does it mean to you to have Wednesday’s game be a part of the Global Game series?
We got a chance to chat with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred at length in Chicago in May. It’s my understanding after that discussion that he sees a sizable growth potential for the game internationally. It’s important — for that reason and many others — that we, as baseball fans, know as much as we possibly can about how the game of baseball has impacted other cultures. To dive deeply into the heritage of baseball in Mexico can only make us better, smarter and more invested followers of the game.