The spirit of Dave lives on at Safeco Field … forever.

Seattle Mariners to Unveil Statue of Dave Niehaus

The statue is remarkably lifelike down to the smallest detail. Niehaus is wearing one of his favorite neckties with tiny baseballs on it (picked out for this purpose by Dave’s wife Marilyn and their daughter Greta), and were it not for the fact that it is made of bronze, Dave’s sport coat would likely be one of his trademark pastels. The scorebook in front of him is open to the American League Division Series game against the New York Yankees on October 8, 1995 – a game that was won by Edgar Martinez’s double down the left field line that is immortalized in Dave’s legendary call. The pages are engraved with Dave’s actual notes and scoring of the game.
The artist, Lou Cella, worked from dozens of photos to capture the essence of Niehaus. The piece was first sculpted in clay and then cast in bronze.

Pretty Perfect….

g7 | fabulous pomp, disastrous circumstance

Mariners 3 | Indians 12

It started out so well.  All of the events and ceremony leading up to the game seemed destined to leave an indelible mark upon the collective Mariner memory.  It was a little odd, being the first Mariner Opening Day held at night since 2001 (which I chose to take as a good omen, little did I know that the bad omen would over-shadow the good when my phone battery died prior to the 4th inning).

I didn’t abide with my tradition of taking the day off and spending the morning at a spa.  Instead, I went to work a couple hours earlier than usual so I could leave in time to get to the corner of Royal Brougham and the “new street” to be witness to the unveiling ceremony.  I arrived just as just as the crew was finishing the audio setup.  A huge crowd was gathered at “The Glove” awaiting the final unveiling (the veil was a sign in itself that read “My Oh My!”).

I was tapped on the shoulder by Chuck Armstrong as he parted the crowd, clearing the way for the entire Niehaus family.  Several city and county politicians took turns reading portions of the proclamation and giving credit to the citizens who started the grassroots campaign.  And then….

I had a couple of hours before my “date” would arrive (my mom-in-law was planning to meet me at 6:15pm) so I decided to meander through the Team Store and, of course, couldn’t escape without purchasing a couple of items.  Then, my stomach was talking to me, so decided I’d head up to the 300 level where I knew I could get a gyro.  I enjoyed said gyro from my regular seat (had to buy other tix for the evening, since I only have one season seat these days) while watching the Indians take batting practice and listening to the pre-game show … a lot of talk about the Jack Wilson controversy – more on that later.  Then, got a call from my mom-in-law – she was here!  So went down to meet her so we could make our way to our seats for the evening (section 306 – right center field) and we were good and settled in with plenty of time to spare before the festivities.

It started, as every home opener since 1999 (when Safeco Field opened) with a Make-A-Wish kid being the first to “touch ’em all!”.  Eleven year-old Kamrin Cramer soaked up every minute of his trot around the bases, stopping at each one to wave to the crowd.

Then it was time for the introductions – the visiting Tribe first, of course.  Then the red carpet was rolled out and the 2011 Mariners ran in one-by-one from the centerfield gate to the first base line as they were introduced.  Felix, of course, received the loudest ovation, followed closely by Ichiro and Michael Pineada (yay!).  A huge flag was carried onto the field and the Navy Band Northwest performed the National Anthem.

Next, the awards for the 2010 season were presented.  Guti (who is still rehabbing in Arizona) and Ichiro received their Gold Gloves and Felix his Cy Young (what a birthday gift – Happy 25th, Felix!).  Then, a little extra something – Edgar was there to present a framed photo commemorating the new Mariner hit-king (Ichiro surpassed Gar in that category during the second game of the season).  They embraced and exchanged words (would have loved to hear that conversation!).  It was a very nice moment.

Then came the tough but touching part.  Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed the fabulous “My Oh My” song.  Even those who are not rap fans (like me) had to be moved to tears by his sincere emotion.  Add to that the video highlights and Dave’s calls interspersed, it was a quite perfect tribute.

Marilyn Niehaus made her way out to the mound and threw a strike to Felix with her entire family standing behind her.  Another “what a moment” moment.  Then, all the Niehaus grandchildren signaled the start of the game with a hearty “PLAY BALL!”  It was 7:20pm and 53 degrees.

Okay – that’s about all I have for you.  From that point on, it’s a bit of a blur.  Seems my cell phone battery wasn’t the only thing that died and I’m relatively sure that the real Jason Vargas was abducted by aliens – or at least the ghost of Chief Wahoo found a way to extract Jason’s command.  I mean, we are used to offensive woes … we are not used to the pitching being offensive.

It’s a shame that the fabulous pomp had to be over-shadowed by the disastrous circumstance but, I’ve no doubt that, from above, Dave was singing the Wabash Cannonball.  And, that he truly appreciated the love and respect that over-flowed from Safeco Field last night.

Better days ahead…

How are we going to do this without him?

Yes, it’s 2011, not 2008, but the great thing about baseball is that we welcome it back EVERY year.
Hearing Dave’s voice on this video is bittersweet.  It’s both comforting and heartbreaking at the same time.  I have wondered since the day that he died last November, how will we carry on in our baseball lives without him … but we must and we will.  He wouldn’t want it any other way.


baseball … on the radio … tomorrow!

Sure, it’s only the annual charity game vs. the Padres … 
but it’s a real, live baseball game we can actually listen to!

And then, the realization sets in that a voice will be missing …

from Shannon’s blog

No lineup yet, but Erik Bedard will take the mound…
How’s THAT for exciting?!?  Other pitchers slated to see action:  Luke French, Manny Delcarmen, Denny Bautista, Justin Miller, Cesar Jimenez, Yusmerio Petit and Chris Smith

Other news and notes…

TWELVE spanning sports…


Rod Mar | Greta, Marilyn and Andy Niehaus atop the Space Needle this Blue Friday morn…

Dave Niehau’s wife Marilyn, son Andy and daughter Greta raised the 12th man flag a top the Space Needle on this Blue Friday morning…

Marilyn Niehaus says her husband Dave was a huge Seahawks fan who never missed a game. And, yes, the Mariners’ Hall of Fame broadcaster would have been beaming with pride on Friday, knowing his wife was atop the Space Needle raising the 12th Man flag in anticipation of Sunday’s NFL playoff game against the Chicago Bears.

“I feel like I’m still flying high,” Marilyn said several hours after coming down from the top of Seattle’s most famous landmark. “That was an incredible experience. I will never look at the Space Needle the same way again.” The Seahawks approached the Niehaus family earlier this week about raising the flag. And despite the expected trepidation of standing astride the 605-foot-high structure on a wet and windy Northwest morning, this one wasn’t a subject for family debate.

“I didn’t hesitate,” Marilyn said. “They did ask if I have a fear of heights, which I do a little bit. But I didn’t want to tell them.” So that was that. Marilyn and two of her children, Greta Niehaus Dunn and Andy Niehaus, found themselves climbing two steep flights of stairs and then about a 20-foot ladder to the top of the Needle, where they then raised the flag.

Cherished memories bring heartfelt tears, comforting laughter

A Celebration of the Life of Dave Niehaus
(from the printed program)
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am an echo in home run calls.
I am the flash of white on a well struck ball.
I am the sunlight on the outfield grass.
I am the powerful autumn home run blast.
When you jump up to a called steeerike three
I am there, yes you know me.
I am the sound of the broom after a three game weep
Swung on and belted; I am the tears on your cheek.
Rye bread and mustard, salami abound
I am high above looking down.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. “My Oh My”

Rick couldn’t quite make it through his initial tribute speech …
He started to breakdown but, was able to regain his composure with “a little help from his friends” (Jay, Danny, Red and Gar stepped up on stage to show their support) and then proclaim, “Tom Hanks was wrong.” (eluding to the fact that there IS crying in baseball).


Ron, Dan, Jay and Edgar each shared their favorite funny stories and fond memories of Dave.

Dave’s daughter Greta and son Andy spoke eloquently about their dad…
Both gave heartfelt tributes with glowing examples of how their father was just as kind and giving in his  family life as in his professional life – as fabulous a husband, father and grandfather as he was a broadcaster and baseball fan.  He lived life to the fullest and enjoyed every moment spent with his family and on his job.

Dave often said, “I’ve never worked a day in my life.”…
referring to the fact that he didn’t think of his job as work, but truly felt it as a passion.  He shared that passion to with all who would listen.

And listen they did…
Marlaina Lieberg, a representative for the Washington Council of the Blind also spoke, describing how Dave was able to bring the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of the game of baseball to the blind.

Chuck Armstrong was the last speaker and he shared some of his memories of Dave as well as made the announcement of the following tributes…

  • commemorative patch worn on the 2011 Mariners uniforms
  • Dave’s microphone and scorebook will be on display
  • the first ever Mariner statue will be of Dave

This was my favorite photo of the day, snapped via my phone …

Apparently, respect and admiration for Dave knows no bounds of fandom.
These two were seated together for the entire ceremony.

Dave ~
You would have been so proud of your family and the grace with which they expressed their sorrow and love.  You would have been touched with the gamut of emotions that the stories the speakers shared invoked (we needed to cry, but you would want us to laugh – we did both).  You would have been pleased with the ways in which your employer chose to remember and revere you.

We are eager to see the statue that will be erected in your honor, but we are dreading the emptiness we will feel the first time we listen to a Mariners game without hearing your voice.

R.I.P. Mr. Niehaus

A day of remembrance…

That hole in my baseball soul was patched a wee bit today…

The Seattle Mariners and the Niehaus family held an Open House at Safeco Field this afternoon.  It was a chance for fans to come reflect and remember this very special man who was so rightly revered.

I got there about 11:40am…
The gates were due to open at noon and before getting in line, I spent some time at the home plate gate admiring all the candles, flowers, signs and various mementos fans had left in tribute to Dave.

The remembrances started pouring in on the day he died

I walked to the end of the line…
from the corner of 1st Avenue and Edgar Martinez Way to nearly the end of the block at Royal Brougham.  As I waited for the line to begin moving, I turned on my walkman (same one I’ve had since 1995) and inserted my ear buds just in time to hear the first pitch of the “My Oh My” tribute – a re-broadcast of Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS game vs the Yankees.  Indeed a special backdrop for my remembrance visit.

banner above the stairs at the Home Plate entrance
The family gathering to view the tribute table
Look! Grandma left out the rye bread and the mustard for the grand salami

First I just tried to soak it all in….
There was subdued music playing on the sound system throughout the ball park interspersed with some of Dave’s signature calls and snippets of his Hall of Fame speech.

the big screen displayed photos spanning Dave’s career
the out-of-town scoreboard rotated quotations about Dave

A nice touch, that Angel fans would appreciate, was the hand operated scoreboard set up to reflect a game between the Seattle Mariners and the California Angels.

The two teams Dave called games for

But the very best and most poignant display was revealed as I turned and looked toward the broadcast booth.  It was dark, save for a single lamp shining on a microphone casting a shadow on the jersey hanging above it.

#77 – Niehaus

Before getting in line, I had a salami sandwich, on rye, with plenty of mustard. Never was such a small, simple meal more satisfying to the taste buds or soothing to the psyche.

with yellow or dijon?

At about 1pm, I got in line to view the tribute table set up behind home plate…
At that time, the end of the line was near the Left Field Gates (more than half way round the main concourse).  Game 5 was still playing in my ears (about the 5th inning at that point) and I was taking photos and posting them to facebook as the line crept along.

only about half the line…

At about the 90 minute mark, I stopped to sign the memory book…
and realized my penmanship wasn’t going to be the best.  But, while my fingers and toes were numb from the cold, my heart was warmed from the waves of people that continued to file in as the afternoon wore on.

pages and pages of remembrances and reverence

Some of the display, that need no description, as the line approached the stairs…

At about the 2 hour mark, I started to descend the stairs down to the field….  
Game 5 was now in extra innings.  Once at field level, I snapped some more photos.

Not everyday you get to actually walk on the field
Still a lot of fans behind me
More rye bread, mustard and salami above the dugout
The jersey in the booth
The fans ahead of me
another view of the sandwich makin’s

Finally, around 3:40pm, I reached the area behind home plate…
and, rather eerily, the re-broadcast of Game 5 had just ended.

smelled wonderful
Bringing us joy brought him joy
the microphone 
the whole tribute table
Inaugural game scorecard 
More memorabilia from the HoF’er 
As we remember him at the opening of Safeco Field

The first greeter after the tribute table was none other than Rick Rizzs….
I shook his hand and mentioned, motioning to the earbuds around my neck, that Game 5 had just ended.  He smiled and said, “Did we win?  Let me guess, Joey reached on a drag bunt, Junior singled and Edgar hit a double down the left field line to win it … in the 11th inning.”  I said, “You got it.  And, Joey also hit a homer earlier and Dan made a couple of nice plays, but didn’t play the whole game.” He said, “That’s right, Chris Widger was in there and Randy pitched in relief.”

I also shook Dave’s daughter Greta’s hand and thanked her for sharing her father with all of us.

After that, I continued to take in the scene and, even though I was freezing, I didn’t want to leave.

Thank you to the Seattle Mariners and the Niehaus family for recognizing how much the fans needed to reflect and remember and for executing the event with such class and attention to detail.  It is SO appreciated.

Here’s the text of my note in the memory book…

Dear Dave~
Your passing has left a hole in my baseball soul.  But, I shall cherish this tattered soul because if it weren’t for you, it wouldn’t exist at all.  Thank you for doubling and tripling our joy of Mariner Baseball and making the less than joyful moments bearable.  You will be missed more than you will ever know but, your spirit will be ever present with every pitch, every swing and every play for as long as the Seattle Mariners live.
~Lisa Gilmore (aka CompassRosy)

Oh, and took a little self-portrait with the man of honor on my way out…

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Niehaus.
Mariner Baseball will never be the same without you.

(no photo credits needed, as you can probably tell from the less than stellar quality, the photos were taken by me – via my little Nikon or my PalmPrePlus)

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


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.

“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 |

Jerry Brewer | The Seattle Times