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Saturday, July 24, 2004

What They're saying About Us In Oakland 

From Athletics Nation on July 21:
Wow, how the mighty have fallen. Seattle, once a team that I loathed with every ounce of my being and the AL West team rival over the past four seasons, is now the cellar-dwelling team from the North. I still don't like the Mariners and their announcers. But time finally caught up to them and now it's a team that just ran out of gas.
Excellent points, and all true, mostly. However, one line in particular bears repeating:
I still don't like the Mariners and their announcers.
I really hope he's talking about Dave Henderson, Jay Buhner, and Ron Fairly here, because we'd both be in agreement (about their abilities as announcers; my respect for Jay Buhner as a player knows no bounds). And he'd be entitled to his perfectly reasonable opinion by disliking Dave Valle and Rick Rizzs. As for me, I like Valle for reasons I can't explain, since he certainly says some questionable things during a broadcast. Rizzs, meanwhile, hangs out at the Joker Pub in Issaquah, and anyone that spends time at a Coug bar is OK in my book.

But if the author of Athletics Nation has the audacity to criticize Dave Niehaus, the Voice of the Seattle Mariners since their 1977 inception, well... let's just say that I wouldn't respond too kindly to a statement like that.

Niehaus is pretty bad if you're not a Mariners fan. I live in Seattle and don't get cable, and I hear him a hundred times a year. The over-the-top homerism might fly for a Mariner-adoring local, but I think he's really annoying. Every time a Mariners pitcher doesn't give up a run after two players get on base it's "escaping a jam", even if there were two outs and the other team's worst hitter was up. I hear about what a great guy Dan Wilson is about four times a week. The superlatives about Ichiro! get really old. It's a group effort, and in comparison I suppose Niehaus is a bit better than Rizzs. A bit. Henderson and Valle (and Bone, when he's around) are horrendous. Henderson mentions the importance of center fielders about once a game on average. Valle tells us about how a catcher has to always be in the game. On and on. These guys are wretched. I grew up in the Bay Area listening mostly to Bill King and Lon Simmons. They weren't perfect, but both understood it was OK to point out when a player on the home team had made a mistake, and I don't remember any long-winded paeans to Rob Piccolo or Mickey Klutts.
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