The San Diego Padres have had a few iconic voices behind the microphone for their television and radio broadcasts over the year. Jerry Coleman, of course, comes to mind first as he was the voice of the club on the radio for 42 years. Dick Enberg also just retired last season after six seasons with the club. Both are hall-of-fame announcers that will go down as two of the best in the history of the art form.
Replacing Enberg was no easy task, but the Padres and their management went above and beyond, as they plucked Don Orsillo away from the New England area and the Boston Red Sox, and signed him to six-year deal before the 2016 season. He was eased into service last year by Fox Sports San Diego, as Dick Enberg was slowly phased out of television duties by the station. Orsillo is a veteran announcer, and he comes to San Diego with the reputation of being an broadcaster who likes to have fun in the booth.
Speaking of enjoying your time on air, the Padres already had a personality who fits that style. Mark Grant, from the time he started working on the Padres broadcasts in 1996, is a man who can light up a room with his smile and personality. He worked with Mel Proctor and Matt Vasgersian over the years in the booth and is clearly a fan favorite. His chemistry with Matty V in particular was fun to witness, as the duo would do nearly whatever came to mind while in the booth broadcasting a game.
Both Grant and Orsillo have a fun-loving personality, but there were some concerns initially on whether or not they would gel together. Well, those concerns are gone, as the duo are certainly getting along with each other, and the future is bright in the Padres’ broadcast booth.
I recently sat down and asked the duo a few of questions, as I was interested in knowing a little more about their relationship. During the 2017 season they will certainly have a greater opportunity to work together and build upon their relationship. Padres’ fans are excited to see and hear them in 2017 as, no matter what the score is, they will keep the viewers entertained.
In speaking to the men, my initial question was about their first impression of one another. Don told me that “Mud was exactly as I imagined from afar. He is the same person on the air, as off.” The two of them have a natural chemistry that cannot be denied. They feed off each other, and while in the booth, they both are professional at what they do. But at the same time, they are not about to give you a regular old boring telecast of the game.
Mark spoke of Don and described him as “simply the best” and had nothing but positive things to say about the man. “He’s funny, smart and knows the game.” It will be fun to see their relationship grow in the booth as they truly have excellent chemistry.
Coming to work and enjoying your job is very important when you are broadcasting a game. If there is anything off, it will not take long for the audience to pick up on it. I asked Fox Sports San Diego’s Mark Sweeney about the duo since he has the pleasure to work with both of them in the booth. Sweeney also has a relationship with each, outside of the office, and that helps a great deal. Sweeney told me “Chemistry is most important in this business and they are already settled into that on air.” Sweeney confided in me that he and Mike Pomeranz often watch Mud and Don, just waiting to see what they do next. The whole set enjoys the interactions between these two on a nightly basis.
The duo is fun-loving and they enjoy poking fun at one another. I asked them some of their favorite moments so far in their young partnership. The “Pointer Incident” is what sticks out most in everyone’s mind. Mark Grant told me that “Don loves to poke fun at me, which I love, and he loves to laugh.” Don Orsillo set up the video for me by telling me that “Sweeney got secret information that Mud was rejected from flying because he was too large to be ejected in an emergency. He shared the news early in the day and we spent the day trying to steal Mud’s pointer. We got the pointer after he was using it on me all season. I was able to turn the tables on him.”
Below is a video of the interaction between these guys during the “Pointer Incident” and how it is an instant Padres’ classic.
Don Orsillo and Mark Grant in the booth on FOX Sports San Diego https://t.co/Swkctfvkku
— Padres EVT Podcast (@EVT_NewsSource) February 17, 2017
The 2016 season was Don Orsillo’s first taste of the National League style of baseball on a regular basis. I asked him his point of view on the N.L. style of play opposed to the A.L. and he told me “I like the larger amount of baseball strategy that takes place in the N.L. It is really different from the A.L. Much more to think about.” He had virtually no trouble adjusting to the new league. Don is truly enjoying his time in San Diego and the city is falling in love with him and embracing him as their own.
Petco Park has gone through some transformations in the last few years and the Sun Diego Deck and Beach is a new addition to the stadium. I was curious if the guys would like to broadcast a game from there, and Mark Grant responded “I would love to do a game from the Sun Diego Deck! We need to make that happen.” Don would be happy to enjoy a game from the outfield as well. I can just see the duo, razzing the opposing teams outfielders, while talking it up with the Padres’ outfielders of that particular day. It would be a sight to see and the Padres’ staff really do need to make this happen.
The friendship between these two men is growing immensely and they enjoy each others’ company outside of the office. Padres’ fans are lucky to have this duo in their homes every night. There will surely be more memories to come, as they grow even more comfortable with each other. In a time of rebuild, the Padres’ broadcast team is one of the league’s perennial champions. That is something that fans of the team can certainly take pride in.