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Tonight’s ESPN broadcast will have a distinct Chicago flavor

Announcers with connections to both teams will share the ESPN booth.

Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN

Tonight’s Cubs/White Sox game will be carried, as usual, by channels for the local teams.

Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will have the Cubs broadcast on ABC7 Chicago, and as noted here Monday, this game will also be live on Facebook within the Cubs’ market territory with no blackouts. It will be on both the ABC7 Chicago and Cubs Facebook pages.

The White Sox broadcast will be on CSN Chicago with Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone.

ESPN is also carrying tonight’s game, and with an interesting selection of announcers:

It has taken a season and a half as a White Sox announcer, but Jason Benetti will finally get the chance to call his first Sox-Cubs game Wednesday night.

Benetti ... is working for ESPN, joined by former Cubs David Ross and Rick Sutcliffe. The national telecast will be available locally, not subject to blackout, provides Chicago baseball fans with a third TV alternative.

This is an interesting choice for the Worldwide Leader, which usually doesn’t send locally-based announcers to games involving teams they are connected with. It’s clearly an attempt to boost ratings, given that the Cubs and Sox local broadcasts have announcing teams popular with the fanbases.

This could create some really fun dynamics in the ESPN broadcast booth:

"I think it's going to be really great fun," Benetti said. "That's kind of where I come at it."

"I might watch the game through the prism of the Sox more than I would on a normal national telecast, but I'm going to be prepared for both teams. … If anyone thinks (Ross and Sutcliffe are) not going to rag on me for Sox stuff, I think they've got another thing coming."

Benetti said he expects there will be talk about the rivalry and these two specific teams rather "than something where I take the Sox side in every argument and they take the Cubs side in every argument.

Since the ESPN broadcast is going to be available in the Chicago market without blackout (as well as nationally), I’d love to hear from BCB readers who watch this game with comments on how it went. Benetti is in his second season as a White Sox broadcaster, and Ross has only done a couple of games in the booth. Sutcliffe is an ESPN veteran who has broadcast games for the channel since 1998.

Enjoy the game! It’s a rare opportunity to compare two (or three, if you sample the Sox broadcast) very different broadcast styles on the same game.