First off, let me concede that you gotta like Pat Hughes. Hate the Rickettses and what they’ve done to Rickettsville, hate the Cubs and what they did to themselves, you gotta like Pat Hughes. But remember, friends, the category is best sportscaster, not best toastmaster.
And that is Jason Benetti, television play-by-play man for the other baseball team in town with a 21st-century World Series title, the Chicago White Sox. After the retirement of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson—a childhood hero of Benetti’s, who grew up a Sox fan with dreams of being Harry Caray “as long as I don’t look like Harry Caray”—this was his first season full-time in the role and his fourth with the team, side by side with none other than Steve Stone, Harry Caray’s broadcasting partner during the Cubs’ mid-80s glory days. Stone, who’s 72, credits the 36-year-old Benetti with keeping him young and on his toes, but he’s a relatable and relaxed brainiac, and there’s an underdog element that adds to his appeal, as reticent as he tends to be about it. Benetti was born prematurely, almost died, and has cerebral palsy, which affects his gait. In 2015 he and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation launched the “Just Say Hi” campaign to try to help people act more normal around people with a disability—like the funny Twitter clip wherein a cartoon Benetti, visiting a museum, gives a roll-eyed pledge to a freaked-out guard that he’ll not harm any fine artifacts—as if! Stone hasn’t yet been given a contract for next year, but with luck he and Benetti will be back along with a White Sox team up to their high caliber.