At 9:00 p.m. on July 13, Steve Adler, founder of Friarhood.com, a website for Padres fans, posted a poll on the site’s Facebook page: Should the Padres bring back Dick Enberg for the 2012 season?
Enberg began his sportscasting career on the radio in the late ‘60s. In 1975, he began a 25-year relationship with NBC Sports, during which time he announced golf and tennis championships, heavyweight boxing, horseracing events, college and professional basketball and football, including eight Super Bowls, and the Olympic games. He has also worked for CBS and ESPN.
In 2009, the San Diego Padres hired then-74-year-old Enberg as a play-by-play announcer for channel 4 San Diego. By then, he had earned 14 Emmy Awards and 9 Sportscaster of the Year Awards. Some Padres fans, however, criticized Enberg for the excitement with which he announced plays by the opponent.
According to comments on the Friarhood’s Facebook page, some people still feel that way. Robert S. wrote, “i say we get someone. . .who announces as if he's not actually rooting for the dodgers or vagiants.” Jake G. wrote, “I want a home town announcer to sound like one.”
Other commenters suggest that age is causing Enberg to lose some of his faculties. Brandon C. wrote, “I do like Dick. I like a bit of the neutrality that he brings and he's been a good broadcaster over the years. However, I'm hearing more and more gaffs and mistakes on air. I don't want him to sour his reputation as a great broadcaster when he's constantly making mistakes probably not by intent. He is getting older. I would like for Dick to retire and call it a great broadcasting career while he can.”
When Zach H. asked, “We’re really discussing the TV guy and not the team?” Adler responded, “With the amount of complaints I get, yes. I thought it was time to put some solid numbers together instead of saying people are complaining a lot.”
There are fans, though, who want Enberg to stay. “He's not the greatest,” Daniel B. wrote, “but i feel like he adds something to watching the games.” Craig C. wrote, “Great grasp of the history of the game with his anecdotes. Mudd and Enberg have great chemistry. Clearly this is age discrimination [to] try to get rid of Dick!!”
As of 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 17, the poll results stood at 149 votes of “no” on Enberg’s return for the 2012 season; 56 votes of “yes.”
“I get the sense,” Adler says, “that there are more people who feel passionately that they don’t want him back than there are those who feel passionately about him staying....
"I have a lot of respect for what Dick Enberg has done in his career. He is a broadcasting legend and no one wants to take that away from him. The reason for the poll [is] to allow fans to voice their opinions and tell us what they want for the 2012 Padres TV broadcast.”