The End Of The Leitner-Coleman Era

March 2, 2010 – 2:56 pm by McD

jerry-coleman

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.

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  1. 6 Responses to “The End Of The Leitner-Coleman Era”

  2. Oh, Doctor, you summed up my thoughts exactly.

    By Booter on Mar 2, 2010

  3. When I think back to great moments in baseball, even ones when the Pahds had nothing to do with it, my mind always fills in JCs voice. Good times.

    By Dr. JwB on Mar 3, 2010

  4. SD PADRE GAMES WONT BE THE SAME WITHOUT tED & JERRY………..LEAVE THEM ALONE !

    By rustyguy on Mar 8, 2010

  5. First off, I spend a large part of every day and night behind a windshield, so I don’t often get to actually go to or watch the games on TV. So the more I think about this, the more disappointed I am that this could really happen. I’m a San Diego native of 62 years who has listened to thousands of innings of Jerry and Ted broadcasting Padre’s games together. Many times, especially through the bad seasons, the only thing that kept my ear to the radio was the fill-in conversations between these two stars of broadcasting. Even when I am able to attend a game at our beautiful ball park, I listen to Ted and Jerry through my head-set. Both have adopted San Diego as their home and have proven their commitment to this community in various ways, on many occasions, over the years. The thought of their long partnership coming to an end would certainly be a tough pill to swallow for most of us fans.

    Mr. Leitner means as much to us long time Padre Fan as Vin Scully does to the Dodgers and Harry Caray did to the Cub’s fans. I can close my eyes and actually see the plays when Ted calls them. He paints a perfect verbal picture of the game that’s as good as any I’ll see on a TV set anywhere. That’s his stated goal, as an announcer, and he accomplishes it with flying colors. In my travels, I’ve listened to other broadcasters call games, and I find myself missing my guys. I’ve also enjoyed engaging Ted in conversation several times, over the years, and have found him to be a very candid and pleasant person to speak with, contrary to the opinions of some who have never met him. He is as big a Padre Fan as you will ever meet, and suffers as much as the rest of us when “His Padres” aren’t doing well.

    I enjoy listening to the answers Jerry gives Ted regarding the every game question “So, what did you do today, Jer?” It provides me a brief relaxing moment when I can catch my breath between the plays on the field and the endless stream of advertising that fills the other voids in the action. I also love that Jerry is quick to point out an error due to poor effort or excessive showmanship by a player. He’s “been there, done that” and no player can challenge his credentials or his right to call someone out who has neglected to execute a basic play.

    No one in modern history has given more to his country or his sport than Mr. Coleman, the player, the “Ace” fighter pilot, team manager and Hall of Fame Announcer… and my hero. Ted occasionally reminds us what a great man Jerry Coleman is. I appreciate and share his respect for this incredible individual we should all be proud of. Jerry Coleman deserves something “very special” for all he’s given to his community, this country and Padre’s ownership. If this is to be his last year, we need a chance to show our appreciation for all he’s given us, and it needs to be a big event(s) if I’m ever going to respect the ownership of this team, new or not.

    Change can be a positive thing, but only if it’s handled the right way. It’ll be a sad day for thousands of us “old time” true Padre Fans if this change happens in a classless way. Their partnership deserves better…

    Old San Diego Surfer (and lifetime Padres Fan)

    By Old San Diego Surfer on Mar 9, 2010

  6. AM I the only one who is sick of Leitner? His voice annoys me to no end, and he never stops talking. Then you have to hear his stupid union and meta-fast commercials during the breaks. He is nothing like Harry Caray (to the person making the comparison). Ted thinks he is doing a stand up act – Harry was announcing baseball. For gods sake, give me some peace while I am listening to the game.

    I like coleman just fine. Leitner is too talkative and annoying – I hope he resigns.

    By tom on Oct 4, 2010

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