Disclaimer: This is almost certainly the only time I’ve ever written about….a sport….on this website. But I listen to my heart, and when my heart tells me it wants to blog about baseball, I have to do it!
After three weeks of shuffling through MLB.TV free trials to watch the Padres consistently lose, I’ve decided to give in and buy a yearly subscription because…..I like pain, apparently.
Listen, I’m not the most Friar Faithful (there was that predictable period in the early 2010s when I convinced myself I was a Giants fan), but I’ve ridden the roller coaster for a solid *counts…* 25 years at least. I have Tony Gwynn’s 3,000th hit recorded on a VHS tape, for Boch’s sake! And a binder full of Padres baseball cards, and 5th grade diary entries that look like this:
So, I feel like I can rightfully claim my spot in the fandom. It’s a fun group to be in honestly, because even though our team consistently lets us down in spectacular fashion, we keep watching, and Petco Park keeps selling out every night.
Anyway, it’s only May and I think this is the most baseball I’ve watched since the early 2000s (all without actual TV!). Why am I so into the Padres this year, of all years? Is it the momentum from last season? The 25th anniversary of my initiation into the only sport I’ve ever enjoyed? Or my now-fully-formed obsession with the Padres’ City Connect uniforms?
…I think it’s a little bit of those, and about 90% Don & Mud, the best broadcasting duo in the biz.
(While exploring my live-streaming options earlier this spring, I realized that I can watch the Don & Mud broadcasts on MLB.TV, and because I don’t actually live in San Diego, I can even watch Padres games without blackouts! Commence the free trial bonanza.)
Mark Grant (a.k.a. Mudcat a.k.a. Mud) has been in the booth since the 90s, the Voice of the Padres for as long as I can remember. Don Orsillo joined him in 2016 and they are just the most perfect, goofy match. And yet somehow I’ve been taking them for granted all this time. I guess it’s because I’ve only gotten to watch local SD games like once or twice a year while visiting my parents, so never got the full experience of listening to their silliness and dad jokes evolve since they first teamed up.
But then the Padres defied the odds last year and made it to the postseason, and photos of Don & Mud being fanbois started making the rounds, and I realized how lucky we are to have commentators who are just as much Padres fans as the rest of us. Who cares about impartial broadcasting when it comes to local sports!
Also, the Don & Mud compilations on YouTube are wonderful. Look at how much fun they have, even during Pandemic Baseball:
Don & Mud are quite often the only thing that’ll keep me watching a game after the Padres have given up. Like—just tonight, as the Pads got pwned by the Red Sox, I got to hear Mud tell Don that if he was a superhero, his belt would have a button on it that magically makes pasta. What!
Baseball is great because during the season you can pretty much have a game to look forward to every day (lol, I don’t know anything about any other sports, maybe that’s not a unique thing). And there are just so many games. And now that I’ve realized I can watch all the SD broadcasts this season from home, for about the same price as a fancy dinner out, WATCH OUT. I’m all in for another devastating year of Padres baseball, baby.