There’s a notable new voice in the Chicago White Sox, as national broadcaster and former Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) voice Jason Benetti has agreed to a multiyear contract as a member of the White Sox television announcing team. Benetti will pair with Steve Stone and announce play-by-play for all 2016 White Sox home games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, WGN-TV and WPWR, with the exception of the home opener and the Crosstown Cup against the Chicago Cubs July 25-26.
Benetti, a former adjunct professor at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School for Communications, was born with cerebral palsy (CP) and has become a prominent voice within the CP community. He is part of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation’s ‘Just Say Hi’ campaign that launched in 2015, and has presented to ESPN’s ENABLED, the network’s resource group that celebrates and addresses employee diversity, including people with disabilities. Throughout his career, he has dedicated himself to the idea that a person is not defined by his or her disability.
“The way I look or walk is such a small part of who I am as a person,” Benetti said. “I like to joke that fortunately, I chose a profession where all I needed was my voice, not my legs. I have always felt that if I can help one other person, or if I can help change one person’s attitude about how they perceive others, then I have made a positive difference.”
Benetti, a Chicago area native, will continue to work at ESPN, where he has served as play-by-play announcer for college baseball, basketball, football and lacrosse over the past five years.
“Joining the White Sox television team of Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone — with the chance to work with Steve on home games — is truly a dream come true for a kid who grew up in the south suburbs watching Sox games during the 1990s,” Benetti said. “This is beyond exciting for me.”
Benetti is a 2005 graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism, economics and psychology. In 2011, he earned his juris doctor from Wake Forest University’s School of Law. Prior to signing on with ESPN in 2011, Benetti called play-by-play for the Chiefs, and he has worked for Fox Sports 1, Westwood One Radio and Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
“Jason is one of the top up-and-coming voices in sports television,” said Brooks Boyer, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the White Sox. “He is a home-grown talent who will mix a love for the game with a deep knowledge of the White Sox and an informative and entertaining style. We believe Sox fans will immediately connect with his humor, intellect and personality.”
“Jason is truly a rising star in the ranks of baseball play-by-play broadcasters,” said Phil Bedella, vice president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. “His astute detail of the game, along with his deep passion for the White Sox, will make him a perfect addition to the White Sox booth with Steve Stone and Ken ‘Hawk’ Harrelson.”
“We are proud to welcome Jason to our broadcast team,” said Greg Easterly, general manager of WGN-TV. “He’s from Chicago, grew up a White Sox fan, paid his dues calling games and is now returning home…we are glad to count him as one of Chicago’s Very Own.”
In Lowell, Justin Williams, a member of the Spinners front office since 2005, has been promoted to Assistant General Manager. He previously served as the Director of Ticket Operations where he was responsible for game day and season ticket sales.
“Justin has proven through the years to be a dedicated team member and has earned this promotion,” said Spinners President and General Manager Tim Bawmann. “I’m excited to see how he can help the franchise grow in the coming years.”
Jon Healy has been promoted to Vice President, Ticket Operations. A member of the Spinners front office since 2002, he had previously served as the Vice President of Group Tickets, which is a large portion of the Spinners fan base.
“Jon is one of the most meticulous team members we have,” Bawmann said. “I’m confident in this expanded role that the entire ticket department will grow under his leadership.”
Gareth Markey has been promoted to Vice President of Facilities. Entering his 14th season with the Spinners, Markey previously he has served as Assistant Director, Food and Beverage later promoted to Director, Facilities.
“Gareth is an incredibly multi-talented team member,” Bawmann said. “He can function in all phases of
the operations and we are lucky to have his leadership.”
TJ Konsant has been promoted to Ticket Office Manager. After being brought in as a Box Office Intern last March, Konstant was brought on full time as the team’s Season Ticket Manager following the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Joining the Spinners front office is Jon Sheehan, who will be serving as the new Grounds Manager following the retirement of Dan Beaulieu, who had spent the previous 18 seasons as a member of the front office. Sheehan interned with the Spinners last summer in the grounds department.
The team’s Vice President of Finance, Priscilla Harbour has also been given added responsibilities. She has been with the team since 1999.
Returning to Witter Field: Emily Steines joins the Rafters in a seasonal role as the team’s Corporate Service and Marketing Manager. In her new role, Steines will work with corporate partners to execute sponsorships, and oversee the promotional team during the season to create a unique ballpark experience.
“I’m excited to return to Wisconsin Rapids and see many familiar faces at the ballpark this summer,” Steines said. “I’m looking forward to another enjoyable season.”
The 2016 season will be Steines’s second in the Northwoods League with the Rafters, after starting her career in baseball with the Rafters in 2013 as a Marketing Intern. Prior to graduating, Emily spent her summers with the Johnson City Cardinals (rookie; Appalachian League) and the Great Falls Voyagers (rookie; Pioneer League) as the Promotions Coordinator. Emily received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in May of 2015. Originally from Marshfield, Wisconsin, Steines currently resides in Pittsville.
The Madison Mallards have announced the addition of Austin Punzel to the 2016 front office as the Director of Food and Beverage. In his role with the Mallards he will be overseeing all aspects of the food and beverage operation at the Duck Pond as well as at Breese Stevens Field.
“Working for the Mallards and Big Top Baseball is, first of all, very much a privilege,” Punzel said. “The continued growth that the club has had is amazing and I’m looking forward to bringing my food and beverage experience in minor league baseball to the club and help out in whatever manner I’m able to.”
Previous to this new role, Punzel his career in baseball in 2009 as an operations intern with the Mallards with an emphasis on the management of the Great Dane Duck Blind concessions stand. Austin’s professional work history consists of working in minor league baseball with Professional Sports Catering at the Erie SeaWolves (Class AA; Eastern League and the Peoria Chiefs (Low A; Midwest League). Most recently Punzel was the Director of Food and Beverage in Peoria.