The one Mariners story I never wanted to write

This isn’t the way I wanted to start my new Mariners blog on MLB.com. I wanted to introduce myself to new readers today, tell people how excited I was about my new job and all that good stuff.

NiehausDave.jpgThen I found out Dave Niehaus had died Wednesday afternoon of a heart attack while on the deck of his home in Bellevue, Wash., and a happy day turned upside down.

The first post on my blog turned into the last thing I wanted to write.

Like all Mariners’ followers, I’ve enjoyed Dave’s gravelly voice and gifted story telling for years. I grew up in Seattle and was lucky enough to listen to him from the beginning.

But I was also one of the fortunate ones who got to know Niehaus and his gracious style and precious sense of humor during my time covering the team over the past 15 years for various publications, every one of which at some point asked me to write a story about the lovable lead broadcaster.

That’s the thing about Niehaus. He truly was the best thing going for Mariners’ baseball for many years. There’s something special about the relationship of a baseball play-by-play man and a community. The 162-game nightly relationship, the story-telling pace, the ability to go into people’s homes and hearts on a regular basis can make for a rare broadcast bond.

And Niehaus, as that man and that voice for 34 straight years, bonded like no other in Seattle and few others in the country.

His death Wednesday hit Mariners’ fans hard and many have placed flowers and notes at the gates of Safeco Field.

Surely a memorial will be forthcoming and we’ll keep you posted. But until then, I just want to add my own small tribute to the large litany of thoughts and words being bestowed on the man who was a friend to all Mariners’ followers.

Rest in peace, Dave Niehaus. You truly were the best.

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