The Two Screen Experience

We’re officially a week in to the 2013 baseball season. The results have not been spectacular, to say the least. It’s amazing what happens when you’re missing your two best hitters and you fail to upgrade your starting pitching, isn’t it? But that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about today. Allow me to sell you on a new way of watching the Padres. I call it The Two Screen Experience.

You’re missing out on a great opportunity. The games are on and you’re just sitting in front of the TV watching them, listening to Dick and Mud, drinking a nice spring beer like an IPA or a saison, and maybe checking out the latest articles posted on Padres Public or following along to our in-game commentary at #PPLive on Twitter.

That’s fine, but I’m here to tell you that there’s so much more. What if I were to tell you that you could be watching the game, watching another TV show, listening to music or a podcast or an audio book, drinking that beer, and checking the latest from Padres Public all at the same time? I’m not only here to tell you that it’s possible, I’m here to tell you that I do something similar to this every game I’m able to watch.

You could do this too. You don’t have to abandon your life for 3 hours in order to watch the Padres. I live on the east coast (kind of). The games here usually start here at 10 pm while I’m watching primetime TV shows. My wife isn’t from San Diego, and while she loves baseball movies, she has no interest in the actual games. She especially doesn’t care about the Padres and wants to watch our shows when they’re on (DVR delayed for commercial skipping, of course). Instead of abandoning a nice family evening of crappy TV watching, I’m able to watch both by sacrificing the least important part of the baseball experience: the audio. Thus, The Two Screen Experience was born.

You’re smart. You know baseball. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t. Padres Public doesn’t cater to the casual Padres fan. You’re here because you love the Padres. You don’t need help analyzing what’s happening on the field. You know the players. The graphics tell you score, the count, the number of outs, the speed of the previous pitch, and what hashtag to use on Twitter for whatever stupid poll they’re doing this game.

Do you really need Dick and Mud’s help? Do you need Sweeney or Pomeranz’s help analyzing a play, a swing, or a pitcher’s mechanics? Is whatever it is that Laura Mckeeman and Kelly Crull talk about (I honestly don’t know what they’re talking about because the sound is off) actually important? I don’t think so and I don’t think you do either.  

I’m not saying any of them are bad at their jobs or not worth listening to. Although I’d prefer Matty V., I like Dick and Mud just fine. Sweeney, Pomeranz, McKeeman, Crull and the rest of the gang are all likeable television personalities. I just don’t require them.


This is me setting a scene. Yes, my wife is a good decorator.

This is me setting a scene. Yes, my wife is a good decorator.


Allow me to set a scene. Friday’s game was the Rockies’ home opener, so it started at approximately 4 pm EST. I happened to have the afternoon off work, so I was excited to watch. I had beer in the fridge, snacks in the cupboards, and a bunch of unheard podcasts to catch up on. I turned the TV on to cable news (also better with the sound off), put my ear buds in, fired up the Slingbox application on my laptop, and switched the channel to FSSD at my parent’s house in Poway.

I had a great 2 ½ hours. The beer, Dogfish Head Aprihop, was great. The snacks, gourmet jelly beans, were a surprisingly good pair with the beer. The podcasts were excellent. There were no tragedies on the news, which is all I can really ask for. The only thing that didn’t go well was the game. If I’d been concentrating solely on the game, I wouldn’t have had a very good time.  

The two screen experience isn’t only better when the Padres are losing. When the Padres are winning, I still don’t need to listen to it. And if something really important or maybe a bit confusing is happening, like a bench clearing brawl or a swarm of bees engulfing Kyle Blanks, I can always turn the sound on. The option for sound still exists, I just don’t need it 99% of the time.

Chances are you have multiple screens in your home. You probably have some combination of a laptop, tablet, and a smart phone that you can bring with you into whatever room in the house you watch the Padres on TV. You might, like me, have a way to watch the games on one of the smaller devices while leaving your TV open for the latest NCIS or Law & Order: SVU marathon on USA Network. You might, if you’re really cool, have two TV’s you can set up side by side in the same room. Point is, there’s a good chance you have the capability to create your own version of the two screen experience in your home.

I’m not saying this is the way everyone should watch the games. All I’m saying is give it a shot. On Wednesday, the Padres play their first 7:10 pm game of the season. If you happen to love American Idol or ABC’s Wednesday Night comedies, about 3 innings in you’ll have a choice to make. Sure, you could DVR your 8 pm shows and watch them after the game is over, but how late do you want to be up watching Southland and The Americans (really, you should be watching those shows)? Watch your 8 pm shows and the Padres at the same time. I promise you won’t be missing out on anything, unless you really want to play the “Warning Path” drinking game.

Follow me on Twitter @The_NV. You know you want to. The Vocal Minority posts whenever we damn well please, and also on Mondays.

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  • I watch 90% of the games like this. With Enberg not able to correctly remember players’ names or know when a ball is caught or a home run, I get so much more enjoyment with it on mute.

  • I too share a television with my wife. And while she is an excellent baseball fan, I simply cannot monopolize the tv for 6 mths less I no longer have said wife to split the TV with. Luckily, as I live out of market, I can fire up on the tablet and follow along while watching Game of Thrones. This system works.

    I would argue baseball might be the only sport it does (maybe golf) due to its pace. What never occurred to me was to catch up on podcast (which I’m always behind on) this way. Brilliant idea.

  • Is that a papa san chair?

  • shaynes41

    I live in SD. Is slingbox the only way to watch the Padres on a screen (laptop/iPhone/iPad/Surface/extra TV with some special device) that is not hooked up to my DirecTV receiver?

    • It’s not the only way, but it is a great option. I love my Slingbox. I’ve had one since 2007. Its not one of the newer versions, but it still works great (no HD on the older versions), and though the one i have is no longer supported, it still works for the Slingbox iPhone app. There are other ways to hook your cable up to your computer, but Slingbox is probably the best.

    • Don Veale

      slingbox is great for someone like Nate who lives so far away.. If you have cox, you can watch on PC or Tablet using Cox’s app ..

  • MattyIce

    I’ve never been the biggest fan of Enberg, but the Titanic exchange was brutal…I miss me some Matty V.

  • Don Veale

    iPad for the ballgame while watching NCIS on TV.,. yup it works.. slingbox looks like it is working fine lately.. lol

  • Melvin

    I do Padres on the TV with audio rather low but still audible. I like hearing crowd noise for exciting moments and the play-by-play to know what’s going on without having my eyes on the TV. Relax on the couch with my trusty Android tablet, I go back and forth between catching up on my RSS feeds (gReader) and following along on Twitter (Plume has a great tablet interface).

    If the game is going poorly I go back to the computer to do the same and whatever other work needs to get done. I can’t see the TV as well from the computer but that’s fine if the game is terrible.

  • I have a really hard time watching a game with the audio off. I usually multitask during a game and the volume serves as a marker. It reminds me when I need to look up at the screen.

    Now that I can see games on my new and improved cable is there a way to pipe the games through my tablet or laptop? Because you know, the wife can only take so much of me attempting to monopolize the TV.

  • My wife goes to bed early and tends to read for a while before that so being in the central time zone works out well for me. Usually I watch via my Xbox 360, but I’ll also watch on the computer or my ipad. If its an early game during the week when I’m at work I’ll some times listen to the radio broadcast via the Android MLB at bat app on my phone.