As most Padres fans have heard by now, Dick Enberg is retiring as Padres TV play by play announcer after the 2016 season. Enberg, clearly a legend in sports media, was never beloved in San Diego. He came off as a former superstar heading off into the sunset with a cushy job that was convenient to his house in La Jolla. Good for him, and in some years since his hiring in 2009, he was probably the most well known Padre under contract. Now that his tenure’s end has been announced, we can start speculating on who’s next.
I’ve always said this job is particularly important because when you sit down and count up the number of hours you sit on the couch and watch the Padres on TV, you’re talking 50-100 hours or even more per season. There have been plenty of rumors that noted incompetent blunderer Mike Dee, in his continuing effort to make the Padres the much more depressing and disappointing version of the Boston Red Sox by the Sea, is recruiting former Boston play by play guy Don Orsillo. Most fans jump to wishing for a return to the Mark Grant/Matt Vasgersian glory days. While Orsillo is certainly a realistic hope, Vasgersian has said he’s very happy with his gig at MLB Network. After all, he’s got kids, and doesn’t want to travel 100 days a year.
The other assumption is that Jesse Agler will just be slotted into the Enberg job. After all, he’s part of the Dee inner circle from Miami. The team has certainly been putting him on the job plenty, using him as the first understudy for Leitner and Enberg all season. Agler has said in interviews that he didn’t get into sports media to be a studio show guy, his #1 priority is to become a play by play announcer. As the ultimate Everyman, he brings a real Everyman spirit to his broadcast. Very competent, but seems to lack that je ne sais quoi that Vasgersian had. Some of that may develop with more time in the booth, but he’s still a top prospect that might need more seasoning. Agler would be fine, and should be considered the leading candidate for the job.
But there’s a dark horse. Mike Dee has made it clear that the golden years of Padres baseball coincidentally coincides with his tenure in the sales department during the 90s. There’s a reason the “Baseball Night in San Diego” moniker came back, it was created during those golden years. So as long as we’re dredging up memories of the late 90’s Padres, let’s go all the way. Mel Proctor was the announcer on Channel 4SD doing Padres games from 1997 to 2001. He was the voice we heard during the magical 1998 season. And he’s local, lives in Encinitas. We got a taste of what we were missing during the Padres 2013 season when FSSD did a retro game using 1998 graphics, and brought together the old team of Mark Grant and Mel Proctor. Mel showed that he’s still got it. He’s currently doing play by play University of Hawaii mainland games and writing books. He made a brief return to the headlines last season as a finalist for the Petco Park announcer job, but of course didn’t get it because the entire online voting idea was stupid. I listened to some clips of him doing Hawaii games and he is still a great announcer, and consummate professional. While I think Jesse Agler does a fine job, a lot of the job involves filling time. Agler and Grant are OK at banter, but what grizzled vets like an Enberg, Leitner, Coleman, or Chandler bring to the job are lifetimes of experiences and stories. Proctor has decades of experience, as well as five years of Padres experience to include one of the greatest seasons of all time. Honestly, when I’m hearing Tony Gwynn stories, I’d rather hear it from a guy that worked alongside Tony than from an East Coast import that’s passing on stories they’ve read about.
Even though I tried to get Mel onto the podcast as a guest and was blown off, consider this the Padres Jagoff OFFICIAL endorsement of bringing Mel Proctor back to do TV play by play for Fox Sports San Diego.
For a really interesting interview that Rick at RJ’s Fro did with Mel, check it out here
I also saw Coach Kentera did an interview with him last week that was interesting