On Thursday morning, the Detroit Tigers and Bally Sports Detroit announced the addition of Jason Benetti as the team’s new television play-by-play contracts. Benetti, who signed a multi-year contract with the team to enter the position, will replace Matt Shepard and work on a minimum of 127 live game broadcasts for the team throughout the season. With the deal, he is able to continue his national broadcasting responsibilities with FOX Sports as an announcer for college basketball, college football and Major League Baseball.
In his introductory press conference with the team, Benetti explained to reporters how he often receives reactions from others that do not align with who he is as a person since he has cerebral palsy and an eye that drifts. Additionally, he conveyed how there are times where he has been underestimated, not to imply that he has a metaphorical chip on his shoulder per se, but rather just how life in general works out. Evidently, there have been times where people say he cannot do stuff and proves them wrong.
The Tigers have not had a winning season since 2016, nor has the franchise qualified for the playoffs since 2014, but last year demonstrated marked improvement with dynamic, young talent that has energized the fanbase and drawn augmented scrutiny towards the team. Some baseball fans believe that the team can potentially contend within the American League Central in 2024, providing an opportunity for Benetti to step into the role and grow with the organization.
“I think quite often, Detroit is not known for its passionate fans or what it’s done for the music industry,” Benetti said. “I think people reduce Detroit to a couple of statistics, and I don’t like seeing people or a whole city get reduced to anything.”
On Thursday afternoon’s edition of The Valenti Show with Rico, co-host Mike Valenti dedicated part of the program to explaining why the signing of Benetti was a significant moment for Tigers fans. Within his remarks, he elucidated how Benetti has quickly become one of the most proficient and skilled play-by-play announcers in the sport and provides an incentive for the fans to watch the games on television.
“I know you guys are going to be like, ‘Wait dude, it’s an announcer.’ You don’t get it,” Valenti said on 97.1 The Ticket. “Jason Benetti might be the best announcer in baseball. Jason Benetti’s awesome. You know what the mark of a good broadcaster is? He doesn’t just do that – he can do college hoops, which he has; he does football. Jason Benetti does it all.”
The White Sox granted Benetti permission to explore the opportunity with the Tigers and ultimately watched him leave the organization’s television broadcasts. Benetti outlined how the Tigers organization demonstrated an interest in bringing him on to the television broadcasts, and he ended up wanting to join them just as much.
“The White Sox are a brain-dead organization for allowing this guy to walk away, which is basically what happened mind you,” Valenti said. “The Tigers had to step up and pay him because… Bally, like other places, can’t rub two nickels together. The point is you just went from having the worst broadcast on television to maybe the best.”
Ever since reports of a physical altercation between former team announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen in 2018, the team has utilized Matt Shephard as the primary play-by-play announcer with Kirk Gibson as a color commentator. Jack Morris was part of the television broadcasts as well until this past season, which also included a rotation of color commentators including Craig Monroe, Todd Jones, Cameron Maybin and Austin Jackson.
“I can actually unmute the broadcast and I can watch the games,” Valenti said. “Now we always want you to listen to them on 97.1 [The Ticket] – shameless plug – but the point is that Benetti’s awesome.”
Valenti feels that Benetti is adept enough to bring his skills to any baseball market in the country, evinced through his appeal on various different sports. Many baseball fans, including Valenti, view him as one of the game’s preeminent voices and someone who will be part of the sports media landscape for years to come.
“If Joe Davis disappeared and was abducted by martians, Benetti would be on the list to replace him,” Valenti hypothesized. “You’re getting an absolute A-list baseball play-by-play man.”
KNBR’s Brian Murphy Speaks for First Time After Paul McCaffrey Laid Off
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’.”
Earlier this week, KNBR underwent a round of layoffs, affecting a pair of programs on the Bay Area sports station, including the departure of longtime morning host Paul McCaffrey. His longtime partner — Brian Murphy — has taken to X to share his thoughts.
In a thread to X, Murphy shared his admiration for McCaffrey, whom he hosted Murph and Mac with for 18 years.
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’,” wrote Murphy. “So much love.”
He then shared that everything listeners and fans of the program have shared on social media has been read by the duo, and thanked them for the outpouring of love and support.
Finally, Murphy addressed his future. Fill-in host Dieter Kurtenbach shared on Thursday he did not have a definitive answer about Murphy’s future with the Cumulus-owned station.
However, Brian Murphy has shared he will return to the airwaves on Monday morning.
“I’ll be back Monday morning on KNBR with our guy Markus (Waterboy) Boucher,” Murphy wrote. “Come on. It’s Niners-Eagles. Wouldn’t miss it. As Paulie Mac’s board itself would say: The show goes on.”
Mike Mulligan: Sports Radio is More Difficult Than Other Formats Think
He shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
On Friday morning’s edition of Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score in Chicago, co-host Mike Mulligan outlined the difference with music radio that hosts are not continuously talking to the audience, instead taking mic breaks and then interspersing commentary with different songs.
Filling in for David Haugh on Friday’s edition of the program was Gabe Ramirez, who used to work in the format with B96 as the host of its morning show. Mulligan’s assertion about the differences between the two formats resulted in a conversation about the differences between the grenres, with Ramirez explaining the difficulties that music radio hosts face on the air.
“The music station’s still creating content,” Ramirez said. “You get to have a guest – since I am going to defend my music stations – you get to have a guest and toss them a softball question and listen to them rant for five minutes.”
Mulligan disagreed with this perspective, conveying that he does not feel their program provides guests with easy questions. Additionally, he shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
“As a former sportswriter, we sit around and we talk about sports,” Mulligan said. “We talk about the sports we cover and we talk about other sports.”
“You have to talk about Justin Fields seven days in a row,” Ramirez replied. “As a morning show for music, you have to come up with new content every day.”
Rather than taking umbrage towards the response, Mike Mulligan explained that the key to effectively performing his job is being able to discuss important stories of the day even when they are not the headlines. Furthermore, he expounded on the commitment that it takes to watch the amount of sporting events and to be properly informed on the action so he is able to take the air.
“That I will agree with,” Ramirez said. “I’ve told people this – they ask me, ‘What’s the biggest difference?’ The prep, without question, is way more difficult in sports radio because everyone that’s listening to you already knows the answers and you have to be equally if not more informed in all of those things.”
Minnesota Twins Set to Tab Cory Provus as New TV Voice, Kris Atteberry as Lead Radio Announcer
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012.
After Dick Bremer exited the Minnesota Twins TV booth in October, the search began for his replacement. The MLB franchise didn’t have to look far, though.
Twins radio voice Cory Provus is reportedly set to become the new TV play-by-play broadcaster for the club, according to a report from Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012. Many immediately tabbed him as the club’s replacement for Bremer, who retired after 40 seasons as the lead television voice of the American League club. Before joining the team in 2012, Provus worked for the Milwaukee Brewers as the number two broadcaster after spending two seasons as the radio pregame host for the Chicago Cubs.
Meanwhile, Kris Atteberry has been signaled as the person set to replace Provus inside the franchise’s radio booth. He has served as the pregame and postgame host for the Minnesota Twins Radio Network since 2007. Atteberry joined the club after spending five years calling games for the then-Independent St. Paul Saints from 2002-2006.
While the television and radio broadcast crews appear set, questions remain about where the team will televise its games in 2024. The club’s contract with Bally Sports North has reportedly expired, and it has yet to sign an agreement with the bankruptcy-laden RSN, or with a local over-the-air television station.