Bill Walton does not immediately come to mind as the first choice to fill in as color commentator on a baseball telecast. However, NBC Sports Chicago has a different point of view. The college basketball commentator and walking meme will enter the Chicago White Soxbroadcast booth for the first of their four-game road series against the Los Angeles Angels on August 16. Walton will fill in for Steve Stone, who is taking the series off.
The game will mark a reunion between Walton and White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Bennetti, who were paired for ESPN’s coverage of the 2018 Maui Invitational. The duo’s antics throughout the college basketball marathon caught the attention of the sports blogging sphere.
Purists may scoff, but NBC Sports may be on to something here. As Commissioner Manfred keeps reminding us, baseball is a game that starts and stops, and when it stops, it stops long enough for announcers to go off on any tangents without interrupting the action. As he demonstrated at Maui, if there’s anything Walton is skilled at, it’s going off on random tangents. Paired with someone he’s already developed a sort of chemistry with, the results should at least be entertaining.
Stone’s replacements for the remaining three games have not been announced, although it’ll be hard to top the man whom Bennetti himself described as a “neural fiesta”.