If I was a religious man, I’d say that god was crying on Saturday afternoon. Instead, it was just another rainy day with the roof on at Safeco Field narrated by Dave Neihaus–even if the voices were those of others.
On a cold, nasty Dec. 11 afternoon, a couple thousand fans filed into Safeco Field’s seats, filling only the seats behind home plate, stretched even with both first and third base, and shared a beautiful tribute to the world’s truest Mariner.
We could Rick Rizzs’ breath from the stands, we could see our own breath in the stands. I surveyed the field when I showed up. With overcast skies and roof closed, the field was by far the least lit up I’d ever seen it. I noticed the California Angels logo on the hand operated scoreboard in left field. And when I used to bathroom after the ceremony it was a bizarrely silent see of damp faces and red eyes.
It was the most informal memorial service I’ve ever been to. Their were more sweatshirts than dress shirts, and more hats than ties. Thats not to say, however, that their wasn’t a dress code.
Part way through one of the speeches, I started too look around. I tried hard to spot anyone wearing a hat, or shirt that didn’t have a Mariners logo on it; I couldn’t find it. For the first time in my life (I wasn’t in the Kingdome for the playoffs in 1995) I was surrounded by Mariners fans.
While the Mariners will immortalize Niehaus with by retiring his microphone, wearing a patch on their uniforms in 2011, and erecting a statue in his honor, we as fans also have a responsibility. We need to pay tribute to the truest Seattle fan by ratcheting up the sports culture in Seattle. When someone shows up to a Mariners game wearing a Boston hat, even when Boston isn’t in town, BOO THAT MAN! Lets make Seattle a sports town.