Steve Dolan remembers when the San Diego Padres previously played in the National League Championship Series in 1984 and 1998, when the baseball team played in Mission Valley at San Diego Stadium, later to be renamed Jack Murphy Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium.
“A lot of today’s fans weren’t even born the last time the Padres were this far into the playoffs,” Dolan told Times of San Diego. “I can tell you that the 45,000 fans at Petco Park have been just as loud as the 65,000 fans at the old stadium in Mission Valley.”
Dolan, 67, has been affectionately called the “Dean of the Padres Press Box” by his peers. After nearly 50 years, Dolan holds the longevity record for active news media covering the Padres. He started covering the Major League Baseball ballclub from the press box in 1973 with the Back Country Trader, a now-defunct weekly community newspaper based in Lakeside.
“It’s an honor and very humbling to have had the opportunity to have a chair in the press box for so many years,” said Dolan, who grew up in Lakeside. “If someone at El Capitan High School had told me that I would be a media member of the Padres press box for nearly 50 years, I would not have believed them. I never imagined I would be around this long.”
Over the decades, Dolan has covered the Padres as a sportswriter for weekly and daily newspapers and wire services. His resume includes the weekly, El Cajon-based Daily Californian newspaper (1974-1977), Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs (1977), United Press International (1978-1979), Los Angeles Times’ San Diego County Edition (1980-1987), Associated Press (1988-1996) and SportsTicker (1997-2000).
More recently, he has switched from writing game stories to serving as statistician. His career for compiling games has included play-by-play announcers visiting teams’ TV talent (2001-2016), Fox Sports San Diego (2016-2020) and Bally Sports San Diego (2021-present), as well as national TV broadcasts on Fox Network and FS1, which owns TV rights for post-season MLB games. His title for Fox broadcasts is official statistician. He was also the official statistician for TBS in 2020 during the two weeks the American League playoffs took place in Petco Park without fans.
This week, for the first game of the NLCS series on Tuesday, when the Padres host the Philadelphia Phillies, Dolan said he plans to arrive at Petco Park at about 1 p.m., about four hours prior to the start-time of the 5:07 p.m. game.
“Downtown San Diego has never been so alive as it was last week when the Padres beat the Dodgers and it will be even crazier this week,” said Dolan, who lives in Alpine. “During the regular season, I normally arrive at the ballpark about two hours before the first pitch.
“With the series win over LA, I believe the Padres will no longer be considered the little brother of the Dodgers. Remember, the Dodgers had beaten the Padres in nine straight series. So often in the past, Petco Park was 50 percent Dodgers fans when they came to town. Over the weekend, it was closer to 95 percent Padres fans. At times, the roar of the Petco fans was so loud it was hard to think.”
During the 1984 MLB season, Dolan was the Los Angeles Times’ beat writer assigned to cover the Padres, which included the team’s first-ever trip to the World Series. The Padres were victorious for one game against the Detroit Tigers team who won the series in five games.
“The Tigers won the Series in Detroit and fans responded by destroying police cars and burning buildings,” Dolan recalled. “The Downtown merchants in Detroit told me they were hoping their team would win the Series in San Diego because they knew there would be looting.”
Dolan is optimistic about the Padres’ playoff chances in the NLCS. “The Phillies have been scoring early and often in the playoffs,” he said. “If the Padres can keep it close early, they have a great chance of winning. The Padres’ bullpen is certainly better than the Phillies. It will be electric at Petco this week. I can hardly wait.”
Mightier 1090 Airing MLB Playoffs, Including Padres-Phillies
Southern California sports-talk radio station XEPRS 1090-AM, The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio, reports it will air ESPN Radio’s national coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series games.
The broadcasts debuted last week with the American League and National League Division Series and will continue this week with the National League Championship Series (NLCS) from Oct. 18 to 25, and the American League Championship Series from Oct. 19 to 26. The World Series is scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 28.
The San Diego Padres host the Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park in the NLCS starting Tuesday. The Phillies have not played in the NLCS since 2009 and the Padres not since 1998.
“This is another big win for 1090,” said station operator Bill Hagen, who led the August 2020 re-launch of the 50,000-watt sports-talk station after it had been off the air since April 2019.
Earlier this year, 1090-AM became an ESPN affiliate. Since then, the station has aired other ESPN programming, including ESPN Radio’s national game-day broadcasts of National Football League and National Basketball Association game broadcasts, as well as MLB’s Sunday Night Baseball.
Mindgruve Selected by First Horizon Bank
Mindgruve, a San Diego creative marketing agency, has announced it been selected as the agency of record for First Horizon Bank, one of the country’s top 10 banks with 417 locations in 12 states across the southeast.
Mindgruve said its team of strategists, creatives, engineers, media experts and data scientists will lead creative, web presence, digital media, analytics and public relations for First Horizon Bank. The Memphis-based bank has $89.1 billion in assets, as of Dec. 31, 2021.
“We selected Mindgruve because they have a full service, marketing and technology capability with deep financial services experience,” said Erin Pryor, chief marketing officer of First Horizon Bank. “Their team understood our business goals and had the right strategy to deliver on our ambitious revenue goals.”
“Mindgruve is leading a new era of financial services companies who are embracing digital marketing and technology transformation in order to meet the expectation of today’s digital customer,” said Chad Robley, co-founder and CEO of Mindgruve. “We are connecting the dots from sales and marketing to the delivery of the brand’s products and services in a way that optimizes the client’s experience.”
Digital Publisher Ezoic Adds Humix To Its Product Line
Carlsbad-based Ezoic, creator of an AI-driven platform for digital publishers, has added Humix, a digital video-sharing network that allows publishers to share, develop and monetize their videos.
Ezoic said its 30,000 independent websites, with an audience of more than 1.4 billion monthly visitors, will have access to Humix’s end-to-end video management platform and can begin sharing and displaying videos to grow an audience and earn revenue from advertising. Humix, which required two years of development and testing, is an alternative to YouTube and Vimeo, a company spokesperson said.
Humix, available only on the Ezoic platform, features a dashboard that allows digital publishers to view and select videos from a network library to drive website traffic, enhance their content with quality video, extend viewership time and earn additional revenue. Publishers can control whether video plays on their website and how frequently.
“Video creators are seeing two-to-three times the engagement on Humix as they are getting on YouTube, while some publishers are more than doubling their ad revenue,” said Tyler Bishop, Ezoic chief marketing officer. “There’s no arbiter. It’s up to the publishers, not opaque algorithms. The open nature of Humix, combined with our powerful machine learning technology, represents the next generation of video publishing on the web. Humix can share videos across websites at a scale that is completely unmatched today.”
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.