Meet the New Voice of the Padres

Mark Neely steps into the booth seat vacated by Matt Vasgersian as the new play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres on Cox Channel 4. He is a native of St. Louis and a graduate of the University of Kansas. Previously, he worked on-air for ESPN, Fox Sports Net and the Big Ten Network.

Ron Donoho: Are you and [booth partner] Mark Grant going to identified as Mark & Mark?

Mark Neely: That hasn't been discussed, but it's not bad. Quite frankly, though, I don't care if they call us Regis & Kelly -- as long as I get to be Regis.

RD: What's the biggest on-air mistake you ever made?

MN: Wearing latex.

RD: How are you going to make a possibly bad team interesting on the air?

MN: Lots of knock-knock jokes.

RD: Are you optimistic about the Padres getting their act together on the field this season?

MN: I'm optimistic for the simple fact that so much went wrong last season for the Padres that the law of averages suggests things will go better this year. The NL West is not the AL East. The Padres aren't trying to keep up with the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays. Their overall talent level isn't all that different from the rest of the division.

RD: What's biggest difference between the announcing you've done and this Padres job? 

MN: I've never had the opportunity to latch on to one Major League baseball team and ride the peaks and valleys that each season presents. Baseball is the best because it’s every day for six months. It's a mental grind.

RD: If you had to be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose?

MN: I am on a reality TV show. It's called San Diego Padres Baseball.

RD: What's your general impression of Los Angeles?

MN: I always have a blast when I visit L.A. -- even though Hef still hasn't invited me to the mansion.

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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