It’s the most wonderful time of the year, for a sports fan that is. Its Spring Training baseball with the season not too far off. It’s the Masters golf tournament in April, but before that of course it’s March Madness. A busy time for college basketball teams, coaches fans and yes, even broadcasters.
With so many NCAA Tournament games available on television these days, the networks are grabbing up announcers from near and far to cover these games. Many of these names are familiar to baseball fans, because their local, hometown voice could be doing radio or television broadcasts as part of CBS, TNT, TBS, TRU TV or Westwood One’s coverage of the tournament. This is in addition to getting ready for the baseball season.
Brian Anderson of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jason Benetti of the White Sox, Gary Cohen of the Mets and Tom McCarthy of the Phillies are just a few of these guys that have pulled or are pulling double duty.
For Benetti there really isn’t any reason in his mind to think he’s done a lot of heavy lifting by doing double time. “I don’t want to make it sound like I’m digging ditches or anything”, said Benetti now entering his fourth season with the Sox. “It’s not manual labor in any way shape or form. But the fun of it is making sure that you spend as much time on the game as much as possible if it were the only game you had. It is about having requirements for what goes into your prep on a game to game basis. For me it’s about self-restraint.”
Benetti also does a college football package for ESPN which keeps him away during the season at some points. But he realizes he’s not the Lone Ranger here, “Again, a lot of people do it and it’s great fun, but you have to make sure that what you’re doing is more than enough.”, added Benetti. “It’s always about self-reflection and making sure that every game gets the diligence it deserves because the audience and the people playing do not care what your schedule is and they shouldn’t.” He has a deep appreciation for the White Sox for allowing him to do these games.
Is there an advantage in the fact that these broadcasters know their baseball teams, giving them the opportunity to dive deeper into basketball? Not necessarily according to Benetti.
“It is easier, but it’s also harder, because if I show up and say the things I used to say about all these guys, then I haven’t really done anything. So, it’s about getting there and talking to guys and being around and making a presence. Every day I read clips about the Sox it’s just part of my routine on a day to day basis.” he said.
Benetti continued, “I kind of think of it as college football coaches think about periods in practice. If they go three days without special teams practice because it wasn’t on the schedule, they’re going to be worse at special teams. So, if I make sure I bake into my day the stuff that I need to bake into my day, I’m doing it the right way, whatever the right way is, that’s what I feel the right way is, but it’s got to be regimented in that regard like a college football coach does.”
As you get ready to watch or listen to the NCAA Tournament, these guys will be earning their frequent flyer rewards. They do it all in the name of bringing the game home to you, the audience.