Chicago White Sox baseball announcer Jason Benetti says his job is "part therapist and part guide and part entertainer" in an interview with contributor Scott Simon for "CBS Sunday Morning," to be broadcast October 13.
This past season, Benetti became the main television announcer for the White Sox, teamed with former pitching great Steve Stone. It took 27 years, a law degree, and gigs calling college and minor league sports before Benetti got the call to join the White Sox on a part-time basis in 2016. He also contends with cerebral palsy.
"I was born premature," Benetti tells Simon. "As my parents tell the story, I nearly died. And a doctor helped save me."
Cerebral palsy can affect muscle coordination for walking, vision and speech. Benetti has had several surgeries and years of physical therapy.
"I think I can see the reactions that people give me, where people will smile and talk slowly to me," Benetti says.
Benetti admits his walking may not look great, but it gets him where he needs to be.
"I look at somebody who has the intensity of a professional baseball player, the intellect of a nuclear scientist, the abilities that are off the charts," Stone says of Benetti.
"He is an extraordinary human being who has overcome a situation that a lot of people don't overcome," Stone adds. "And he's done it by sheer force of will. I have never seen a more determined guy."
It's a job Benetti has wanted all of his life. He recalls as a grade school student being asked to write an essay about what he wanted to be when he grew up. His choice? A White Sox announcer.
Moreover, while he says he is not a disability activist, Benetti knows his story can help others.
"Here's the thing," he says, "I mean, honestly, it's part of me. So many people travel this world and don't know what's unique about them. I already have one built in."
The Emmy Award-winning "Sunday Morning" is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. ET, and is rebroadcast on Pop TV at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. "Sunday Morning" also streams on CBSN beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET and repeated at 1 p.m. ET, and is available on cbs.com, CBS All Access and On Demand.