Friday evening, broadcaster Jason Benetti was calling a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals in Chicago.
Saturday afternoon, he was in Tallahassee, Florida, for Florida State’s game vs. North Carolina State.
Just over four hours after the NC State-FSU game ended, Benetti, who has been doing college football for ESPN since 2011 and started calling White Sox home games for CSN Chicago in 2016, was back in the booth at Guaranteed Rate Field for game two of the series between the White Sox and Royals.
By the time Saturday night’s game was done at 9:13 p.m., Benetti had called three games in two cities with two plane rides in between in the span of 26 hours.
Here’s how he did it with the help and accommodation of ESPN and CSN.
• Benetti’s crazy weekend of work and travel started Wednesday night in New York City, though that was for fun. He had tickets to the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” months in advance and long before he knew he’d be heading to Tallahassee in Week 4.
“I did some poor planning of my week,” Benetti told Yahoo Sports with a laugh. “But when you get tickets you’ve got to go, right?”
• After seeing the show, Benetti flew to Florida State on Thursday morning, where he watched the Seminoles’ practice. He then flew back to Chicago on Friday morning to prepare for Friday night’s broadcast.
“I had a 5:50 a.m. flight out of Tallahassee through Atlanta to get to Chicago at 8:30 to do Sox Friday night. I had [Florida State coach] Jimbo Fisher — since we had a meeting time already set, I didn’t meet with him Thursday in person I met with Jimbo with our crew on the phone at 11:30 Central time on Friday.”
• The first pitch of Friday night’s game was just after 7 p.m. Central time. Following the broadcast, Benetti and a camera crew — which documented his travels — and his football spotter headed off to Chicago Midway Airport for a chartered flight to Tallahassee.
The plane landed at about 3 a.m. local time, giving them less than nine hours to sleep and get ready for the noon E.T. kickoff at Doak Campbell Stadium with analyst Anthony Becht, who typically works with Beth Mowins. But she was calling an NFL game for CBS on Sunday.
“I had told ESPN I can do this if I get a noon game that week but there was some question even leading up to about a week beforehand whether they could finagle getting me a noon game,” Benetti said. “People don’t generally just ask for windows of games. I broke off from my regular crew, usually I’m with Kelly Stouffer and Kris Budden — and Beth just happened to be doing NFL on Sunday … so that’s why I jumped in with Anthony and Rocky [Boiman].”
• After NC State upset Florida State, the frenzy really began. Saturday’s White Sox game began an hour earlier — after 6 p.m. local time — meaning Benetti probably wasn’t going to get to the game by first pitch if the game went nearly four hours like college football games tend to do.
Once the Wolfpack’s win was complete — and yes, the game took more than three hours — Benetti and crew hustled to the elevator only to find it packed with people. Following a sprint down multiple flights of stairs to the ground level, it was off in a car directly to the airport.
“The first thing I did when we got in the plane before we took off was ‘What are the lineups for tonight?'” Benetti said. “So I just pulled out my scorebook and started jamming on what I normally do to get ready for a [baseball] game.”
• The chartered flight back to Chicago left at 4:26 p.m. ET and landed in Chicago just after 6 p.m., right about the time the game was going to start.
Benetti’s White Sox broadcast partner Steve Stone called the game himself until Benetti arrived at the stadium for the second inning.
“I actually almost bit it down the stairs I was going so fast,” Benetti said of his hustle into the White Sox booth. “I was just glad to not go head over heels into Stoney rolling down the stairs.”
“When you have two employers who are willing to do that, you cherish it and you love it and you embrace it because not everybody has that. And regardless of whatever people think, ‘Oh three games in 23 hours.’ That’s great and everything, but people have a lot tougher jobs than I do … It’s pretty awesome to have two employers who were like ‘Yeah, let’s give this a shot.'”
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