Former NBA star Bill Walton lit up the broadcast booth and social media Friday night while working as a guest analyst for the Chicago White Sox- Los Angeles Angels game in Anaheim.
Walton joined NBC Sports Chicago play-by-play host Jason Benetti as a fill-in for regular White Sox color man Steve Stone, who is taking this weekend's series off.
Benetti, in his fourth season calling White Sox games, extended the invitation to Walton during the NBA playoffs. Benetti and Walton are colleagues at ESPN, where Benetti calls college football and basketball games and Walton serves as an idiosyncratic analyst for the network's Pac-12 basketball coverage.
"He's a huge fan of baseball. He's a huge fan of earth. He's such a curious human being that he's a fan of anything he can pull out joy from," Benetti said of Walton.
The veteran announcer added that the three-hour, 11-minute game — which the White Sox won 7-2 — also suited Walton's style because the pace was much slower.
"Baseball is for telling stories and thank goodness he's here," Benetti said. "There are really no requirements of keeping up with a game. It's there. You're in and out of high-leverage plays."
Walton did get off on the right foot during the first inning when he said of Angels star Mike Trout: "He's good."
When Trout hit his 41st home run in the fifth inning, Walton analyzed it thus: "That's Trout? Swimming upstream, avoiding all the flies, and sending one ricocheting through the universe."
Perhaps the line of the night from Walton was: "I would not be a good catcher. I'm much better at getting high than getting low."
As Benetti was signing off, Walton said: "I apologize on behalf of the human race for destroying your broadcast, and I hope I don't ruin your career, which I think I already let that bus go by."
But Walton's energy was praised on social media throughout the broadcast and after the game.
“Bill Walton needs to broadcast baseball games forever,” tweeted Barstool Sports.
“This man is my hero in the ‘analyst’ world,” wrote one user. “Hilarious, inspirational, and wildly insightful.”
“I need Bill Walton calling World Series games,” wrote another.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria was hoping the Walton experience could carry over to the next road trip against Minnesota.
"You know what? If he would like to come and the organization is on board, we will take him," Renteria said. "He was awesome. I never met him before, but that was pretty neat. To point on everything. He was awesome."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.