(NOTE: This article first appeared in the Des Plaines Valley News, in connection with the White Sox convention)
Born 10 weeks premature, with a mild case of cerebral palsy, new White Sox broadcaster and Homewood native Jason Benetti never let it stop him from achieving his dreams.
As a fresh-faced 22-year-old graduate, Benetti was a "fan favorite," according to the Windy City Thunderbolts website, (then called the Cook County Cheetahs) in Crestwood, who hired him as a their play-by-play announcer in 2005.
Benetti’s style and humor got him noticed by the Houston Astros' Single-A affiliate Salem Avalanche just a year later.
Law school at Wake Forest University gave him more perspective on broadcasting.
“At law school, I learned how to be an advocate for clients, and that helps me today, being a good advocate of the team,” he said.
While at Wake Forest, he was the voice of the High Point Panthers basketball games, as well as the play-by-play analyst for Washington National’s Triple A affiliate Syracuse Chiefs baseball, and broadcast high school football for Time-Warner Cable Sports Channel.
ESPN came calling in 2011. Benetti called select college basketball games for ESPN3 and then move onto ESPN2 and ESPNU. In 2013 Benetti called his first football game for AAC Network. As time permits, he’ll continue to broadcast college basketball games on the ESPN and college football for the AAC Network.
And now, the White Sox. Of all the broadcasters they could have chosen, why Benetti?
"He got the job because he's really a good broadcaster, not because of the side stories," Brooks Boyer, the White Sox chief marketing officer, told the Chicago Tribune. "What stands out is his ability to broadcast a game." That, and a strong recommendation from Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper, according to the Tribune.
Benetti doesn’t forget about others with disabilities. He’s active in the United Cerebral Palsy Association, serving as a mentor. He prefers to let his activism show “By just walking around and doing a good job at what I do. That’s the best bully pulpit.