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D.C. Sports Media Approval Ratings: Joe Beninati

Having already dealt with the main play-by-play men for the Wizards, Redskins and D.C. United, and with the Caps stealing the most July headlines they've had in years, time now for Joe Beninati, the man more commonly known as Joe B.

Beninati has spent more than a decade as the lead play-by-play voice on the Caps' Comcast SportsyNet broadcasts, and has also gone national as a play-by-play man for Versus. His past freelance work includes ESPN, NHL Radio, and WFAN, and has done hockey play-by-play for Westwood One during the past two Winter Olympics. Like all good Caps employees at this point, he spent five years in the minors, calling games for the Maine Mariners and Providence Bruins before moving up to the bigs in 1994.

Locally, he has also called games for the Mystics, the Wizards, the Orioles, Maryland lacrosse and various ACC and CAA events. He's starred in ridiculous Major League Lacrosse commercials, has his own category on On Frozen Blog, and was already given the media approval treatment at Kukla's Korner. (Hint: It was bad. Real bad.)

Bearing in mind that you have just two options, here's your chance to judge Joe Beninati. Choose carefully, and offer explanation below.

Previously, in order of approval: Steve Buckhantz, Dave Johnson, Johnny Holliday, Charlie Slowes, Chick Hernandez, The Junkies, Mike Wise, Tony Kornheiser, Steve Czaban, Dave Feldman, George Michael, Rick "Doc" Walker, Brett Haber, John Riggins, Andy Pollin, Larry Michael.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 2, 2008; 11:51 AM ET
Categories:  Media  
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I HATE Joe B as a PBP guy. Especially in hockey, he doesn't follow the play, or he seriously lags behind it. And there's a 90% chance he won't know why a referee has blown a whistle. Thanks for watching the game, Joe.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse


I certainly hope JoeB doesn't have to deal with stuff like that on a daily basis. I'd hate to lose one of the nation's best play-by-play guys because people felt some need to throw darts at him.

Posted by: EricS | July 2, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

He's a decent enough normal PBP guy. Just not for hockey.

He's too much from the Bob Costas school of not talking directly talking about what's going on to be a good hockey PBP guy.

A quick scan of the NHL's Center Ice package of broadcasts originating out of traditional (i.e. non Florida, etc) markets and it becomes painfully apparent that Joe is lacking. You can also tell that his local and national color announcers get frustrated with him (Craig Lauglin has grown into a really good color man, and his Verses counterpart's name in the playoff escapes me).

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

anyone who saves me from hearing craig laughlin's voice is A-OK by me

Posted by: ohmyears | July 2, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Joe B. is certainly not perfect, but I enjoy the guy. Doesn't take himself too seriously, shows the right amount of emotion on big plays. Approve

Posted by: Fingerman | July 2, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate Joe B. Not my favorite voice, but he gets it done. If my Nazi-like office web filters didn't block the voting function, I'd Approve.

Posted by: Ben | July 2, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I listen to a lot of Center Ice play by play guys, and he's clearly among the best. Just look at his call of "The Goal," probably the biggest moment of the last several years. He nailed it. We're lucky to have him.

Posted by: 20007 | July 2, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Not sure who the complainers are listening to, but I've followed hockey for 30+ years, and except for the "greats" of the past (e.g., Dan Kelly), I'd rather listen to Joe do a game than anyone right now (Mike "the screamer" Emrick for instance). Sometimes he and Craig get a little nutty, but they usually keep it under control.

Posted by: OldPhil | July 2, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I love it when he shouts, "Dagger!"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

sorry 20007, while he did have a nice call on OV's goal, he's just not a hockey PBP guy. It's the toughest sport to call, and the fools in Buffalo, TB, and Florida really can't handle it.

But he can't follow the play, and it's frustrating that he'll say the play has been whistled dead....but no reason why until someone tells him after the commercial break. I laughed so hard in the playoffs when he called a play dead to to a two-line pass....which doesn't exist anymore.

While his attitude and personality are likable, his ability isn't there.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Joe B's fine. But he's a PBP guy, people are going to find reasons to hate him.

Mike Fornes ain't walking through that door people ... Jeff Rimer ain't walking through that door ... Al K ...

... OK, Al Koken might since he does the ice-level stuff, but you get the point.

Has the Steve Kolbe Approval Contestfest of '08 been posted yet?

God bless Ron Weber.

Posted by: Eddie C | July 2, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Joe B is not a bad PBP guy, but he is such an over-the-top homer it just makes it tough to listen to him call a game. I know that's the trend these days for team's regular announcers, but he takes homer to a whole 'nother level.

Posted by: WOFM | July 2, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Is he the "Not pissible, not possible!" guy? If so, yeah!

Posted by: Max | July 2, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

You really ought to have a third "Who's He?" choice. I hit approve, but really have no idea. What are these things you call Capitals?

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | July 2, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Joe B is the man. He and Locker are terrific. And UMD's Burning Couch ought to wake up. The Caps are the single team in this area that has a realistic chance at a championship in the next few years.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind Joe B (especially his knowledge of lacrosse, since he is a former goaltender), but I don't like listening him do the Caps. He uses too many nicknames, like he's friends with the players or something. His name is Ovechkin, not Ovie, etc. He's better with Versus, when he's doing a neutral game.

Posted by: incredulous | July 8, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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