Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fly, Fly Away Old Friend

I was on the phone with Mrs. LIAYF tonight when I got the news.  It came to me via a Tweet in my Twitter stream.  Dave Niehaus had passed away. My, Oh, My.

At first I was shocked, then deeply saddened.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Dave, he has been the Seattle Mariners play by play announcer since the inception of the franchise way back in 1976.  I was 9 then, when Seattle finally got a major league team. And just like they did this past year, the team stunk up the field year after year back then.

But that didn' matter.  That's because Dave Niehaus was a true master at his craft.  Day in and day out, with his enthusiasm and love for the game, he would turn a boring match-up into an event worth listening to. He was amazing at what he did, and I had the good fortune to grow up listening to him ply his skills. 

Come to Seattle and you will hear it echoed wherever you go. This hall of fame announcer was like family.  And he will be greatly missed. In fact, he may very well have been the most beloved figure in the history of Seattle sports.

As I soaked in the news, I started to read some of the stories online about his career and I found myself a bit overwhelmed.  There have been few times in my life as an adult man that I have openly wept.  This was one of them.  They were not only tears of sadness, but happy tears remembering the amazing moments that are seared into the memory of my youth and young adulthood.  Dave Niehuas delivered those memories to my radio or television screen in truly exciting and mesmerizing fashion. 

As a father, I am more than a bit sad that I will not be able to now share future Dave Niehaus calls with Lukas.  Hopefully I will get a chance to take him to see his exhibit in Cooperstown one day.  But thanks to the wonders of technology, I will still be able to show him, and let him listen to, examples of how a Hall of Fame announcer brings the game to life.

This is probably his most iconic call, and one that always makes me a bit emotional. 

Here are a few other famous plays in Mariner history that Niehaus made all the more special with his love for the game.

 Thanks to Mrs. LIAYF, for a recent birthday I was given a baseball with his autograph.  It is one of my most cherished possessions. 
Thanks Dave.  Fly, Fly, Away good sir.  May you rest in peace.  Your legend will certainly live on forever here in the Great Northwest.


SciFi Dad said...

I know exactly how you feel, because I felt the same way when I heard Ernie Harwell died, and I hardly ever listen to baseball anymore.

Otter Thomas said...

I'll chime in and say I know how you feel too. I found out Jack Buck died when I was in Italy. I felt so all alone and sad over there. Jack was like a true friend to me. I felt like I knew him personally from all the hours I listened to him growing up despite the fact that I had never met him. With all the old timers leaving it is really the end of an era. Story tellers and announcers like that are no more because of all the other gadgets and gismos on TV. Sorry for your loss.

Keith Wilcox said...

I don't usually get emotional about celebrity deaths, but for some reason I got choked up about Tony Curtis last year. Not because I really cared, but because he was my mom's favorite and somehow that got to me. Hmmm.

Mrs. M said...

This was a great post, we were very saddened by the news. Mariner's games may never be the same again. :(

Lady Mama said...

That is sad. :(

Steve said...

I may not much understand baseball, but I know a great commentary can bring any sport to life, especially to a boy watching his heroes. A sad say to lose someone like that.

Papa K said...

I can't say I was really familiar with his broadcasting but I watched the rundown of his career on the MLB network. They did the top 9 calls of his career and I must say just listening to him I can understand why Seattle fans would get so attched to him. Sorry to hear that man.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Scifi - Thanks. You spend that much time with a person and they are like a part of your family.

@Otter - Thanks. Yeah, Jack was a great one too. I hope it is not the end of an era, but sadly you may be right.

@Keith - Funny what can get to you isn't it?

@Mighty M - Thanks. Of all those who commented, you probably know exactly how I feel being a local.

@Lady Mama - Yeah. Thanks for the comment.

@Steve - Absolutely. You spend that much time being made happy and excited by that person and it hurts to see them go. Thanks for commenting.

@PapaK - Thanks. He was one of the greats. The thing is about the calls you listened to, Dave would have several a game just as good. even on routine plays. Often we would turn off the sound on the television and listen to him make the calls on the radio because it was that much better.

john cave osborne said...

holy. shit. i had NO idea dave niehaus died. i'm speechless.

i was only in seattle for 7 years or so, but i LOVED niehaus. every bit as much as i loved colabro.

i was in the house that day edgar drove home joey and jr to give randy the win (who came on in relief if you recall). what a magical year that was. three straight against the yankees.

man. dave niehaus. rest in peace. off to google. great tribute. the guy was a legend.

Whit said...

Sad to see him go. It's been nice these past few days to see how much he has meant to the city.