Ted Leitner has been a San Diego icon nearly 40 years. In fact, he’s been a San Diego resident for well over half of his life. The man bleeds San Diego, and it shows every night. He’s a Padre and Aztec advocate, and has kept fans engaged during lean years. The Padres have won more than 77 games once in the last 12 years. Prior the their run of success, he went through 2 decades of awful Aztec Football and Basketball. His “buddy broadcast” times with the colonel Jerry Coleman are the things of legend. “What’d ya do today Jer?” brings back memories of the mid to late 90’s playoff teams. Good times.
Let’s explore some of the things that endear him to so many fans.
Some have written about his storytelling and called it “annoying or too “New York”. To those people, I say you’re ridiculous and obnoxious. Ted remembers stories about players, executives and broadcasters over the last 40+ years. He presents them as though they happened yesterday. He has an amazing gift that he shares with fans on a nightly basis. Humanizing players and other folks we idolize. My favorite is when Ken Caminiti told him “thanks for saying all those nice things about me”.
2. He’s a homer
My Padres, your Padres. Either way, they’re our Padres. Ted always give his perspective from a Padre fan stand point. Making a team exciting when they lose 90 games year after year is challenging. Sure enough, he’s accomplished that and more. His raw excitement when the team does well is inspiring. His clear disappointment when something bad happens is what makes him one of us.
3. One of the last great home run calls
“Caaaaarushed” “Ball going, ball loooong gone” “Deeeeep left center field” Don’t forget “and a running, backhand grab!” Picture those in his voice. Many broadcasters these days get excited, but nothing as awesome as Teddy ballgame. Between him and the colonel, the Padres have arguably the greatest broadcasting team in the last 40-50 years. He’s destined for a Ford C. Frick award one of these days.
4. Keeping the Colonels legend alive
He’s been open about his commitment in mentioning Jerry Coleman in some capacity during every broadcast. He does it in a way that’s sentimental but that’s relevant. He doesn’t force it, things just naturally come up that sparks a memory. These stories are only bested by a call saying “Jerry?! We’re gonna hang a star.” The colonels legend is alive and well.
5. He’s a loud mouth
Look, Teddy’s a loud mouth and always has been. He keeps it real. We love it. In a Vanilla world of people being offended about being offended, it’s such a breath of fresh air. These days, he’s become slightly more PC, but still has the fun edge we’ve come to love. Now, he just adds a “no offense” to it. I respect that.
Teddy and Jesse (and T Gwynn Jr) make a great duo/trio on the air. Padre fans are lucky to have these voices painting a picture of the game as it happens. Hopefully in the next few years they’ll finally get to call a World Series championship as well.
We would hang the ultimate star on that one.