Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dave Niehaus, the First Mariner in the HOF

Dave Niehaus - Seattle Mariners Desktop Wallpaper Series

Unlike many other hardcore baseball fans, I didn't really grow up listening to baseball. I didn't pay much attention at all to the Mariners, really, until about 1986. But when I discovered baseball, I really learned to enjoy it every time I listened to Niehaus call the game on the old white AM radio my dad had. We'd have the game on when my dad was working on the car -- and Niehaus' rosy rhythms and smooth droll provided some interesting counterpoint to my father's terse cursing preceded by the clink-clank of the greasy tool falling into a nearly-impossible-to-retrieve gap, along with that only nut that would fit the last bolt holding onto whatever it was my dad was fixing.

But as I dove into baseball, I grew to really appreciate the game thanks to Dave's skillful game-calling. In 1991, when the M's were winners for the first time ever -- after almost 15 years of being losers and the butt of jokes around the league -- I thought of Dave and how long he'd suffered with the team. And then Dave brought a whole lot of current Mariners fans into the fold with "the Double" and, really, the excitement that drew folks into the team as they made the playoffs for the first time.

Now, as the Mariners revisit the "glory" days of the 1970s and 1980s, on pace for a 100-loss season, and Dave's better days are behind them, the team owes it to him and to all of the long-suffering fans to right this ship and get back to the playoffs, and hopefully giving Dave the opportunity to call history in the World Series.

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