There has been a lot of talk about the 2021 Chicago White Sox, but seeing is believing.
So let’s try to answer your questions concerning TV and radio this season.
What’s the biggest off-field move the White Sox made during the offseason?
Yeah, but given this is a TV and radio guide to the coming season, shouldn’t you give a TV-radio answer?
OK, try this: The White Sox have left WGN-AM 720 and will, for the first time since the 2005 World Series championship season, be heard on WMVP-AM 1000 (aka ESPN 1000).
A lot of years that would qualify as the biggest TV-radio move, but isn’t there something else that might be even more significant — and certainly more surprising?
Kasper will work alongside veteran analyst Darrin Jackson, replacing Andy Masur, who was given the microphone after reliever-turned-longtime broadcaster Ed Farmer died last spring.
Why would Kasper move to the Sox?
Kasper, who used to be part of Cubs announcer Pat Hughes’ game broadcasts on radio when the team was on national TV, believes radio is the purest format for baseball broadcasting. There are other factors as well — such as the possibility of calling a World Series game, which team TV announcers don’t get to do. Kasper said listening to Ernie Harwell broadcast Detroit Tigers games is how he grew to love the game.
With Jason Benetti and Steve Stone back, are there any changes in the White Sox TV booth?
Funny you should mention it. Benetti and Stone are among the best local announcers around. But when one of them has to take days off, there’s a first-rate backup available. That’s new White Sox radio announcer Len Kasper. It’s expected Kasper will work around 20 games a season on TV.
When Kasper is helping out on TV, who will call Sox games on radio?
Connor McKnight, whose primary job will be to host White Sox radio studio shows, will back up Kasper as needed.
This is McKnight’s second go-round as Sox radio host. He had that job in 2016 and ’17 for WLS-AM 890, but the station’s owner got a bankruptcy judge in early 2018 to void the contract with the team, which is how the White Sox wound up on WGN.
Any changes in the TV pregame and postgame shows?
Not really. Chuck Garfien is the studio host. Live-wire former Sox star and manager Ozzie Guillen will be his primary analyst, but look for contributions from Frank Thomas and others.
Anything special planned for opening day?
The White Sox open on the road Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels with a 9:05 p.m. game time. The pregame show will start at 8 with Garfien joined by Guillen and Thomas, as well as Benetti and Stone.
Will announcers get to travel this season?
To start the season, White Sox TV and radio announcers will call road games from Guaranteed Rate Field off monitors just as they did last season because of COVID-19 precautions. That could change before the season is over.
ESPN is starting the season with its announcers in studios, although “Sunday Night Baseball” plans to have reporter Buster Olney on-site.
Speaking of ‘Sunday Night Baseball,’ what White Sox games aren’t on NBC Sports Chicago?
Fox and ESPN can take games from NBC Sports Chicago’s schedule for themselves, such as ESPN’s season debut of “Sunday Night Baseball” on Sunday April 4. They haven’t yet filled out their dance cards for the season and these things are always subject to change, but here’s what has been scheduled so far:
- April 4 at the Los Angeles Angels (ESPN)
- June 19 at the Houston Astros (Fox-32)
- July 17 vs. the Astros (Fox-32)
- Aug. 12 vs. the New York Yankees (Fox-32)
Cable’s FS1 has grabbed April 17 at Boston Red Sox, May 1 vs. Cleveland Indians, and June 1 vs. Indians. Those games will run opposite telecasts on NBC Sports Chicago because they are not subject to local blackout.
Is August 12 on Fox the ‘Field of Dreams’ game?
You know it is. The Iowans built a field, but the Sox and Yankees didn’t come last year because of the pandemic. So this year, as they say when making movies: take two.
The two teams will play on a bespoke field in Dyersville, Iowa, near where they shot the 1989 film starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield, Gaby Hoffmann and Frank Whaley.
Will there be other ESPN games?
If the White Sox are as good as they hope to be, probably. ESPN has many more games still to announce. Only its “Sunday Night Baseball” games are exclusive. If ESPN picked up midweek games, the ones that are allowed to run in the market will run alongside NBC Sports Chicago games.
How about TBS?
TBS’ first game isn’t going to be until June 20, so Turner is in no rush to choose games. If it were to pick up one or more White Sox game, it would have the opportunity to carry only one in the Sox market and that game would run opposite NBC Sports Chicago’s coverage.
What are the options for cord cutters who want to stream?
NBC Sports Chicago is available on Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Fubo and AT&T TV.
Is there a livestream available for those who get NBC Sports Chicago through a cable or satellite subscription?
They mention this a lot. Authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers can stream live via the MyTeams app and on the NBC Sports Chicago website.
How can fans unable or unwilling to pay for a cable, satellite or streaming service watch games?
Has there been any movement in the stalemate that’s kept Dish and Sling from carrying NBC Sports Chicago?
What if a fan wants to order NBC Sports Chicago a la carte?
It’s unavailable in the White Sox TV market that way. That’s simply not the business model for regional sports networks at the moment. Perhaps that will change someday. It hasn’t yet.
What if a fan lives outside the White Sox TV market?
If you live outside the White Sox TV market, MLB will want to sell you a subscription to either MLB.TV or its Extra Innings package to get NBC Sports Chicago games. Read the fine print on blackouts. You won’t get live NBC Sports Chicago coverage if the Sox play the team in the market where you live. Again, this is not an option to watch Sox games if you live in the Sox TV market, as designated by MLB.
Which channel is NBC Sports Chicago on my cable or satellite system?
Better check here on the NBC Sports Chicago website.
What and where are all the radio stations that carry White Sox baseball?
White Sox games are available in Spanish on Chicago’s WRTO-AM 1200, but the flagship of the Chicago White Sox Radio Network is ESPN 1000.
- The other affiliates in Illinois are: WKRO-AM 1490 Cairo, WBCP-AM 1580 Champaign, WYKT-FM 105.5 Kankakee, WGGH-AM 1150 Marion, WCMY-AM 1430 Ottawa, WRHL-AM 1060 Rochelle and WNTA-AM 1330 Rockford.
- In Indiana, the affiliates are WMRI-AM 860 Marion, WRIN-AM 1560 and WRIN-FM 104.5 Rensselaer.
SiriusXM Satellite Radio has a whole MLB package available.