Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Oh My!!!

When a friend or family member dies, they leave an obvious hole in your life.  Other people who knew you were associated with them understand and often grieve with you. Occasionally there are deaths that make the whole world take note.  Think Princess Diana, JFK, or even a bunch of nobodies, but a BUNCH of them, i.e. September 11th. Even more rarely are the people who affect a community.  The world as a whole doesn't come to a screeching halt, but a single area (geographically or topically) freezes to mourn their loss.

This happened last week to Seattle and to baseball.  Dave Niehaus was the announcer for the Seattle Mariners baseball team since their inception in 1977. Hardy M's fans will know his name, face and especially his voice anywhere.  M's fans are a peculiar breed, as the team has achieved little over it's lifetime and less in the last five years. The fans, myself included, tend to follow them and attend games regardless of their record.  Dave was always the most enthusiastic M's fan.  Anyone who lived in Seattle in the 1990's knows about the miracle year of 1995 and Dave's call.  He was as much a part of the team as any player, maybe more so since he was never traded, never retired.  He was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was named the winner of the Ford C Frick given by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which recognizes career excellence in baseball broadcasting and is considered the highest baseball broadcasting honor. Niehaus broadcast 5,284 of the 5,385 Mariners games.  See his full Obituary at the Seattle PI.
Dave Niehaus.  courtesy of iill.net
I went to my first Mariners game before I could walk, or so I've been told.  Games used to be held in the Kingdome; a giant concrete monstrosity.  It had great acoustics if you were the home team.  Other teams used to complain about the excessive volume.  Rumor has it 'the wave' started in that stadium. When it was imploded on March 26, 2000 I had a tear in my eye.  It was ugly, but I had very fond memories of family trips to the ballpark wrapped within it.  (for wikipedia's version of how the wave was started please click here)
Exterior of the Kingdome; its amazing to see the cityscape around it now too.  It never looked that bleak then. courtesy of monolithic.com. 
Interior of the Kingdome. We usually sat in those outfield seats that look blue on the right.  Courtesy of ballparks.com
The new stadium, Safeco Field named after the sponsoring insurance company, is beautiful.  I loathe that its named after a company, as are most stadiums built in the last decade.  A fan can enjoy any choice of eats, from sushi and wine to hot dogs and beers. There really isn't a bad seat in the house, most of them making fans feel close to the action. The roof is retractable so the crowd can enjoy the precious Seattle sun or hide from the rain and wind.
Safeco Field. courtesy of theredsreport.com
When I had a jaunt home for a mere 4 days in June my mom bought Mariners tickets.  It's an unspoken agreement that if I come home during the season, we get tickets.  It doesn't matter who they're playing against, what their record is or how far out of contention (for the World Series) they are, we go and enjoy the time together while eating peanuts and clapping along to the stadium organ.

I know many of you are from lands outside of the United States where baseball is hardly understood, let alone followed with fervor. I may have lost you in the first three lines of this blog. Watching memorial videos made me tear up at my desk today.  Dave shall never be replaced just as a childhood that has passed can never be regained. Today I find myself yearning for simple times gone by, with a bag of peanuts, in the outfield bleachers, sitting between mom and dad watching a game I adore in the city I love.


  1. Yup. I was totally lost.
    Also, while I'm here, I think you people've gotten "football" mixed up with something else.
    Also, I'd love to know what Dave's Call was in 1995...?

  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOWnLqjF40g for the 1995 call. I remember watching it live on tv and can't watch it to this day without smiling and getting choked up.
    The funny thing about football is that I got used football as the one with the black and white ball in Guatemala and Spain. Now that I'm in Indonesia and there are more folks from ANZ (Australia, New Zealand) than the UK, they use football to describe AFL, Aussie Football League which seems to me as a mix of American Football and rugby. For the one with black and white ball, it's once again soccer.