Very few things have been consistent about the San Diego Padres over their history. I mean, unless you count the mediocrity, idiot ownership and general managers, lack of talent and the radio broadcasting team of Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner. The two of them, now much older than I’d care to acknowledge, have been the Padres’ radio broadcast guys for all but one of my 29 years. The exception was the season when Coleman managed the team.
Jake Peavy was traded last year. Adrian Gonzalez is all but gone this year. And now the team of Coleman and Leitner is essentially done as well.
In a scenario that is much too complex for a radio broadcast and one that makes little or no sense, the two venerable announcers will not actually be on the air together at all this season, despite sharing the booth for several games. That is because third-wheel Andy Masur will handle play-by-play duties or color commentary duties when either Leitner or Coleman is on the air this season.
Despite having probably the best rapport of any announcing duo in Major League Baseball, and despite the obvious need for a farewell tour (Coleman is only working 40 games this year and is roughly one million years old), the Padres figured there is no need for the fans to hear “So what did you do today, Jerry?” from Ted Leitner one more time before it’s all over.
If you’re wondering what the hell I’m babbling about, Coleman and Leitner have often been the only entertaining thing about Padres games during their tenure as the radio announcers. The team sucked more often than not, and when the games got boring, you could count on Leitner asking Coleman what he did that day before the game. Usually, Coleman would say something to the effect of : walked the dog, took the grandkids to school, had lunch, and came to the ballpark. But it was entertaining nonetheless.
There’s a reason Coleman is in the Hall of Fame as an announcer. Mostly because he’s a bit of a crackpot, but also because he’s charming and a great announcer. Hell, people AT THE GAMES would still look to the radio booth to see if Coleman would “hang a star” on a great play (by literally hanging a giant plastic star out of the broadcasting booth), and they mostly couldn’t even hear Coleman and Leitner working.
Sometimes the inevitable question wouldn’t come until late in the game with the Padres up big or (usually) down big. Other times it would come in like the third inning because the game was a total disaster. Either way, “what did you do today, Jer?” was usually the best part of that particular afternoon or night, and one of those “you had to be there” experiences for Padres fans.
In truth, this is just another sign that I’m old and these aren’t MY Padres anymore, so to speak. Baseball is probably going to be exclusively about nostalgia for me from now on, which sucks ass. I mean sure, I might be married, have a child, and a steady job, but damn it, I’m still 12 years old and amazed at how f-ing fantastic Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff are. I’m still four years old and convinced Tony Gwynn is the greatest baseball player ever. I’m still in the car at any point in my life in San Diego and listening to Leitner and Coleman call Padres games as well as can be done.