Hey, Washington Nationals! Broadcaster Jason Benetti Deserves A Call-Up, Too!

Benetti Interviewed Syracuse manager
Tony Beasley in this 2012 feature
available on YouTube.

The Syracuse Chiefs have been a high-profile AAA team, since the heralded debuts of talents like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. One of the first to tell their stories was the team’s broadcaster, Jason Benetti.

In 2013, the media turned its attention to Benetti. The stories highlighted the fact that the team’s voice does his job, despite cerebral palsy. The Washington Post and CNN were just two national outlets to cheer on the commentator.

I checked out Benetti’s calls on the team website. Syracuse has been a baseball leader in internet game broadcasts. He’s a passionate, talented announcer who knows and respects the game.

Who else knows? I contacted Benetti, receiving this update in return:

Q: What’s your baseball background?

A: I spent two seasons in the Carolina League with the Advanced-A Salem club.  Before that, I called a year of independent ball with the Windy City ThunderBolts.

Q: With such national recognition, I’m sure your autograph requests will grow. Have you been depicted in any team sets?

A: Never had a card.

Q: How do you feel about autograph collectors?
A: I’ve had some kids ask me to sign baseballs.  I generally ask them if they really want me to sign.  If they respond affirmatively, I then let them know the tragic effects my signature will have on the ball’s value.  Then, I sign it.  
I’d be absolutely happy to sign something someone would send.  Especially if it’s edible and I don’t have to return it.  🙂
Q: More people should hear you in action. Suggestions?
A: The multimedia page of www.syracusechiefs.com is where you can find live coverage of all of our games.  Thanks for asking.

I like this 2010 feature about Benetti by Tom Leo, too. I hope you will, too.

Sept. 1 was roster expansion throughout the majors. I’d like to see teams like Washington promote guys like Jason Benetti. Talent isn’t limited to the field.

On this Labor Day, I must say it. This career is a labor of love. Jason Benetti’s is one broadcast I’ll stay tuned for.

Steve Darms Discovers Autograph Karma

Baseball-Almanac web guru
Sean Holtz has employed
Steve’s hobby karma theory,
finding certified autographs
of tough signers who’ve
fallen from grace. Be sure
to check out Jeremy’s BA page!

Move over, “Mendoza Line.” Minnie, take a break. One hobbyist has coined a new term:

The Jeremy Hermida Principle.

I loved learning about Steve Darms. He knows that good things come to collectors who wait. Or, he’s uncovered the theory of hobby karma. Here’s his story:

Q: What are your autograph specialties? Have you ‘graphed in person?

A: My collection is all over the place, in all sports.  It probably would be easier if I just focused on one team, but I want everybody.  It doesn’t matter if they’re the star first baseman, or the pitching coach.  The one constant is that 99% of my signed items are on flat items in binders (cards, photos, and team-signed rosters).  For the record, my favorite major league team is the Blue Jays, and in our family, we HATE the Yankees…I’ll still get their minor league players to sign, though ;-).

In person, my teams are the Syracuse Chiefs, Auburn Doubledays, Binghamton Mets, and their opponents.  (I also do Syracuse Crunch hockey, and Syracuse basketball and football during the baseball off-season).  I’ve only been to a handful of major-league games, and haven’t tried to ‘graph there.  It’s always easier to just get them in the minors before they become impossible to get.  And while I do want to get everyone, I won’t go to the hotel, or come to the park 4 hours before the gates open.  I just do regular pre-game and post-game, and if I don’t get certain guys, I can trade with my fellow collectors, or just buy a cert card of them at a show. 

That’s always sweet revenge, getting blown off by a player and then finding a cert card in the dollar bin at the next card show.  (I think that phenomenon should officially be re-named “The Jeremy Hermida Principle.”)

Q: How long have you collected?

A: My first ever autograph was Bob Feller at a show when I was one, in late 1983.  My father got him to sign his 1955 Bowman, personalized to me.  When I was a kid, I would bring my program down to the Chiefs dugout at games, because it was something to do.  I really didn’t get fully bitten by the autograph bug until the summer of 1998, when Jose Cruz Jr. was on rehab with the Chiefs, and I had a card I really wanted signed.  During the game, I realized I’d heard of about half of the players on both teams.  That’s when I realized I should be coming for every visiting team too.  (I did end up getting Cruz outside after that game.)

Q: What other collectors helped you learn?

A: I think the thing that really influenced my collecting was a letter in the autograph column of Tuff Stuff magazine in the summer of 1999 (I think Ken Griffey Jr was on the cover).  A collector had written in, talking about how he mainly collected guys from the minors and other lesser-known players.  I believe his last sentence was something like: IF YOU WANT A BIG COLLECTION, REMEMBER THE UNREMEMBERED GUY.  That’s what triggered my “need” to try for everyone.  If I didn’t have a card (which was often the case), I’d get them to sign the team roster, so I’d have them on SOMEthing.  I never understood when other collectors only got the guys they had cards for, even as other players were on the verge of the majors.

Q: Have you had any personal replies in TTM collecting? Notes or letters answering questions?

A: I started doing TTM in 1998, and probably send out an average of 100 requests per year (though with each new year, I keep telling myself I should send out more).  I don’t usually ask the guys questions, but have gotten a few notes back, from John “Mule” Miles, Virgil Trucks, Billy Sample, and Bob Watson.

Q: Lastly, do you have hobby goals or projects?

A: I’ve been working on the 1985 Fleer & 1985 Fleer Update sets, and the 1999 Team Best Baseball America set.  I’d like to finish those, though there are several deceased players and expensive HOFers still to go in the Fleer set.  I guess the only other goal is to just keep getting whoever I encounter, from any sport or area of interest, even though, according to my girlfriend, that makes me an “autograph whore.”

Coming Friday: Don’t miss this one, folks: Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine talks autographs. He shares words guaranteed to make you stand up and cheer!


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