Thursday, November 11, 2010
Mariners Broadcaster Dave Niehaus Dies
It's weird when these things happen. When Ernie Harwell died, it didn't mean much to me. When Harry Kalas died, it didn't mean much to me. Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Chick Hearn, and so on - their deaths didn't stop me in my place. News of Dave's passing did. I lost my grandfather a few weeks ago and Dave's passing doesn't affect me in the same way, but it does still feel like a death in the family, just because it resonates so strongly within a tight group of people. People from Los Angeles or Denver or Kansas City won't feel about this the way that we do, and we shouldn't expect them to, but many of them understand. Most fans understand that, while another team's long-time announcer may not mean much to them, they mean the world to the listeners at home. There's a bond that forms, and it stirs this strong, fierce devotion.Back when I first started this blog, I had a lot more personal connections to Mariners bloggers; my favorite among them, Mariners Wheelhouse, long ago went into retirement after being active only a year. Looking at Vinny's age, I only hope I don't have to endure such stuff myself any time soon.
It's a devotion that, in many ways, may be even stronger than one's devotion to a team. When a team is good, you're all about it, and you're brimming with enthusiasm. When a team is lousy, though, one becomes objective, and critical. That objectivity and criticism isn't there with announcers like Dave. Not nearly to the same degree. I think we were all aware of some of Dave's flaws in his later years, but none of us thought worse of him because of them, the way we think worse of the M's for some of their drawbacks. I know, myself, while there's no statistical measure of narrator quality, I'd argue until I was blue in the face that Dave was the best there ever was.