On Woodstock's 50th anniversary, former NBA superstar Bill Walton walked into the NBC Sports Chicago television booth to be a color commentator on the White Sox-Angels game. Walton was his usual self whenever he spoke, making quantum leaps from topic to topic as he transitioned between the planets of this world and the great beyond, but perhaps what made this experience most interesting was that he was clearly a man learning new things about sports while talking about him.
Even with this inexperience, it's important to remember that this was clearly not Walton's first rodeo as a broadcaster, and like any good guy of color, he made sure to bring his personal experience of playing sports into what he was talking about.
Then he pretty much philosophized about how the baseball game was structured – so much so that the producers had to play it more or less in order for the show to go commercial.
Standing next to Walton with the best seat in the house this madness was play-by-play broadcaster Jason Benetti, who had actually worked with a big man before. Last November, Benetti and Walton called the Maui Jim Maui Invational during which the former Bruin Center needed some time to discuss obscure Hawaiian flowers, the breeding habits of whales and his favorite flavor (rainbow ??). So it makes sense that that's how Benetti described Walton's style of broadcasting after this partnership was officially announced.
"Playing a game with Bill Walton is a gift," Benetti said. "His mind is a playground, an orchestra and a volcano that all come together. It's impossible to think of someone who leads an audience and their broadcast partner on multiple trips around the world, and having that next to me is an honor and a treat. "
The trip Walton took viewers on Friday included praising Viagra's slogan (in reality, thinking of the famous "four-hour erection" warning), bragging about knowing the difference between Slovenia and Slovakia, calling for a 2-0 lead "asking why Mike Trout does not type every time (a fair question) and wishes there was a big White Sox slam.
For other Walton nights out, because honestly who cares about Mike Trout tying his homer last night, White Sox Talk has put together a sweet compilation for your viewing pleasure, with the ex-Clipper bonus of "ruining" Bennetti's show.
This is just another reminder that this is Bill Walton's world, and we all just live in it.
h / t Chris and Joe