The one, the only constant of Mariners Baseball for 34 years…

from Mariners.com

Pure shock and deep sadness.  I’ve been trying to take it in since late this afternoon when I first saw the breaking news alert.  Marinerland is reeling right now,  trying, without success, to imagine our baseball lives without him.

Dave Niehaus is gone.

Spring and summer evenings will never be the same…
He was the one, true “forever Mariner” – the only person on earth who can say he’s been with the team since the first pitch in Mariners history … back in 1977. He was a true gentleman and an awesome story teller. Over the past few seasons, it was becoming evident that his eyes and ears were failing him a bit (e.g., “swung on and belted” ended up a sac fly to the warning track) but his passion for the game was ever present.

His voice and signature lines are forever etched in my mind….

“My oh my!”

“Swung on and belted!”

“Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma.  It’s grand salami time!”

“Fly, fly away!”

And, of course, I can recite, word-for-word, his call of Gar’s double down the leftfield line on that magical October evening in 1995.

He expressed genuine enthusiasm when he called the game…
the ENTIRE game – not just when something good happened for the M’s.  Yes, he loved the team he worked for, but he loved -no, revered- the game of baseball even more.  And that was never so crystal clear as in his Hall of Fame speech, that, along with some of his calls, they have been replaying in tribute tonight.

When I listened to that speech live…
I cried tears of pride and joy that such a great man was the announcer for my favorite baseball team and that he had finally made it to the pinnacle of his career.
When I listened to the replay of that speech tonight…
I cried tears of sadness and disbelief that the one and only voice of the M’s has been forever silenced.

Something that speaks volumes to the man he was, not just the broadcaster…
Junior was on 710ESPN sharing his memories of Dave – it’s the first time he’s spoken publicly (that I’m aware of) since his retirement.

How fortunate we are to have been able to hear him for 34 summers…  
The 35th one is going to be tough.  Really tough.  But, I will take comfort in the fact that he did what he loved until the day he died. My thoughts and prayers are with all his loved ones and his extended Mariner family.
I have a hole in my baseball soul.
But then, if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have a baseball soul.
R.I.P. Mr. Niehaus….
Your voice elevated our joy in the good times and helped us cope in the all too common not-so-good times.  Not sure how we are going to do this without you.  You will be missed – exponentially.
JOHN LOK / THE SEATTLE TIMES

“He meant everything to Mariners baseball. Everything.  He was not only the voice of the Mariners, he was the Mariners.       —Rick Rizzs

Some of the stories and memories being shared….

Seattle PI

Larry Stone | The Seattle Times

Larry Larue | The News Tribune

Kirby Arnold | Herald.net

Jerry Brewer | The Seattle Times