Bill Walton is college basketball’s most unique announcer by a country mile. The Hall of Fame inductee made a decision years ago to lean all the way into the fact that he boasts a gigantic personality, a wealth of knowledge in his brain, and a gigantic vocabulary en route to making late night Pac-12 tilts on ESPN must-watch television, regardless of the teams taking the floor.
One of Walton’s broadcast partners with the Worldwide Leader is Jason Benetti, with whom he’ll call Maui Invitational tilts at the start of the season. They make for a great pair — Walton is Walton, while Benetti possesses the quick wit to go along with whatever comes his way. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s a quick taste of what you can usually expect.
Bill Walton: “Finally, somebody put some WD-40 on this game.”
Benetti: “Got all the creaks out.”
Walton: “That’s what WD-40 does. It works when you drink it too.”
Benetti: “That is not true.”
— Bonkers Productions (@passmethatBONK) November 20, 2018
As it turns out, fans of the pair will get to hear their one-of-a-kind banter during the college hoops offseason, when Walton will join Benetti in the booth for a baseball game this week. Benetti is the voice of the White Sox for NBC Sports Chicago, and when the team travels to Los Angeles to play the Angels on August 16, he’ll be joined in the broadcast booth by none other than Walton.
“There is nothing more entertaining than working with the neural fiesta that is Bill Walton,” Benetti said, per Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune. “I’m over the moon about it. When he said yes, there was a fist pump.
“I think it’s amazing. I left Maui having done six games in three days with Bill, and it was a rapturous experience. My mind fired in ways that I never could have imagined simply from being next to him and following the conversation and thinking, ‘Should we do the game right now, or should I follow up with the thing that he just said?’ It was all over the map in the most entertaining way.”
Walton and the game of baseball have been intertwined in recent days. The two-time NBA champion threw out a first pitch at a Padres-Rockies game, did a poor job, requested and got a second pitch, did much better, then held up the game for several minutes while the mangers were giving their lineup cards to the umpires. It’s certainly a weird sequence of events, but because Walton was involved, it all sounds right.
(Via Chicago Tribune)