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No matter how sucky the Mariners were, Dave Niehaus was always a tremendous story teller, a great announcer, and an obvious fan of the game. He will be severely missed in the Pacific Northwest.
That's unfortunate. Had he been ill?
I hear what you are saying about great announcers, they can make it entertaining even if the product on the field is unsatisfactory. The Phillies had many down years and I was heartbroken when their long time announcers died (Richie Ashburn and most recently Harry Kalas). We've had MLB's extra innings package the last couple of years and get to check out at least 40 out of market games a week. In my experience it seems that the smaller market and bad teams usually boast more interesting commentators/announcers. For instance the WORSE commentating crew HAS to be HANDS down, the Yankees. Too many commentators in the booth, just over the top coverage and BOOOORING. The NY Mets are probably a close second, same situation too many peeps in the booth just stepping all over each other. I don't need a CC Sabathia bathroom useage update (being sarcastic) or know about Jose Reyes' Diet etc. Vin Scully (legendary Dodger broadcaster)has even become a bit of joke. He's so old and getting the names wrong of the players and just blathering on about all this minutiae. Some of these guys forget that we're WATCHING TV, so there's a visual going on, know how to just let the game breathe a little w/out the barrage of statistics (Andre Eithier has led the league in Doubles for a second baseman, w/2 out and no runners on during a full moon etc etc etc). By contrast the lowly Washington Nationals (before and after the departure of Rob Dibble) have one of the most entertaining broadcasts around, the Orioles team are not so bad either. I love the Florida Marlins broadcasters because they're such complete homers for their team that it's just funny. White Sox are like that too.
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I will say this. The man turned me into a baseball fan, even during the bad years. I actually joked that when Tanner was born, he'd pop out spouting Dave Niehausisms like "my oh my" and "get out the rye bread and the mustard, grandma, it's a grand salami" because I listened to so much baseball in the months before T was born. Niehaus was, quite simply, one of the best in the business and is in the Hall of Fame to prove it. I truly believe he was one of the most influential sports figures in the recent history of Seattle.
I don't know that he had been ill, Monkey, but I do know that he has had heart issues for years including a few angioplasties.
Yeah, this was a heavy hit to me and my wife. Dave was often more the reason we tuned in to Mariners games than the Mariners themselves!
He will be missed…
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