Jonny Dub and I were in Vegas in a $9 room at the Hooters Hotel and Casino when I saw the news that the Padres had parted ways with Padres Social Hour host Mike Janela.
At first I thought that the whole show was being cancelled based on rumors I’d heard earlier in the season about Fox Sports West swallowing up Fox Sports San Diego.
@gaslampball There has been a merger of some assets (management) so far. What follows is still up in the air.— Bob Wehrsdorfer (@ChyronBob) August 27, 2016
As it turns out it wasn’t, since apparently it’s still on with rotating hosts these weeks later.
I stopped watching Social Hour after last season when I cut cable and discontinued my subscription to the accompanying podcasts when Jesse Agler left the show. I liked the show okay, but the podcasts would pile up on me and I found I was rarely in the mood to hear the message that the Padres brass wanted to push on that particular day.
At the time of Janela’s hiring I was against it only because I thought there was a lot of local talent that could have been used to replace the host role. It’s weird to me that you’d again choose a host that had basically zero connection or knowledge of the team to host a show like that. But somehow it worked for Jesse Agler, he came up to speed really quickly and I can only assume that Janela did as well based on the number of fans that mourned his departure.
To close out the Mike Janela era with the Padres, I truly believe that he should have been given more time. Pulling the plug this soon and this impatiently really harkens to upper management changing course quickly and frequently at the baseball operations level (until hopefully this summer).
Janela seemed like a really positive and likable guy when he wasn’t tweeting about New Jersey, Syracuse, Pro Wrestling or any of his other interests outside of the Padres. I feel bad that he was laid off but also glad for him that he doesn’t have to cover this team for the next 3+ years.
What initially was lost in this news was that Janela wasn’t the only one laid off. I was shocked to hear that long time Padres employee and Co-Host Mike Grace had also been laid off as well.
According to a team source, the @Padres apparently canned Mike Grace along with Mike Janella. I can think of a third Mike to get rid of.— Change the Padres (@ChangeThePadres) September 3, 2016
I thought Grace had a deep understanding and knowledge of the Padres since they are the team he followed and loved all his life. He was an excellent host and I thought he should have been strongly considered for the full-time Host role last off-season. He’d been with the team since I think the late 90’s. I’ve talked to him a multiple times over the past decade and he’s always been engaging and thoughtful even when I was shallow and negative. It’s such a strange thing that this is how the team decides to cut costs. Speaking of strange things...
I also can’t help but notice that Grace’s departure wasn’t properly announced by the team or mourned by fans. Instead his name was just removed from the Padres Front Office employee listing. He’s basically been treated like Barb from Stranger Things, left for dead in the Upside Down. Barb, my favorite character, and Grace, my favorite host, deserved better.