Mariners Insider

Who replaces Dave in 2011? Maybe no one

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Jan. 4, 2011 at 7:12 am with 17 Comments »
January 4, 2011 9:41 am

They have given no indication that the position is available, but the Seattle Mariners have received between 50 and 100 resumes, digital recordings and applications from broadcasters hoping to replace Dave Niehaus in 2011.

Dave Niehaus

Out of respect for Niehaus, his family and fans, the team has not conducted a single interview – and may not. Among the options the Mariners are considering is having only familiar faces and voices on their television and radio broadcasts next season, filling the airwaves with the presence of former players and broadcasters.

“That’s something we’ve talked about,” team vice president of communications Randy Adamack said. “There’s a line of thought that we could make 2011 a transitional season for our fans.”

Niehaus, who died in November, was at the microphone for the first game of the Mariners inaugural season and the final game of 2010. As one producer said this week, ‘anyone seen as replacing Dave in the booth opening day is going to take a pounding.’

It’s nearly impossible to gracefully follow a Hall of Famer, on the field, the bench or broadcast booth. The comparisons are too harsh, the sense of loss too fresh. Later this week, Adamack and other team executives will sit down again with television and radio producers from the Mariners flagship stations and discuss the possibilities of the upcoming season.

Broadcasters Rick Rizzs, Dave Sims and Mike Blowers are all under contract for 2011. If they decide not to name a successor to Niehaus, the team will draw from it’s own past for color men like Dave Henderson, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson, among others. And when the need arises for play-by-play men, former Mariners broadcasters Ron Fairly, Ken Wilson and Ken Levine could be called in for a series or two.

There’s also the possibility the Mariners could give ‘guest appearances’ to local sports broadcasters, including Mike Curto of the Tacoma Rainiers.

In Niehaus, Seattle lost more than a broadcaster, it lost an icon. As Ken Griffey Jr. said, Dave was the best-known member of the team, whether it was in the ‘70s, the ‘90s or last season.

Those who have applied to succeed him have done so with as much respect and sensitivity as possible, Adamack said, and the team has written to tell each that their inquiry has been received. Beyond that, no one has been interviewed or promised one. The team could still decide to bring aboard a new broadcaster.

“No one wants to be the man who replaces John Wooden,” Adamack said. “You want to be the guy who replaces the man who replaced Wooden.”

The team will decide, probably before spring training begins next month, how it will proceed into the 2011 season – whether that means hiring a new broadcaster or creating a pool of former players and broadcasters. Based on the sentiments of producers, it seems most likely Niehaus will be honored throughout the new year by men who worked alongside him in Seattle or played the game while he described it.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. I like the idea of not bringing in a full-time replacement this year. I also like the idea of having no announcer for the first inning of opening day – a sort of silent tribute to Dave.

  2. sixpackjoe says:

    Ridiculous, how are we supposed to know what is going on in the game, we need a commentator, if not now, eventually. If you really want to HONOR Dave, the show must go on. He wouldn’t want it any other way.

  3. allan84455 says:

    I give a hearty vote for Mike Curto. He’s an incredible personality that would be a nice familiar voice for Northwest baseball fans to move on with. Curto!

  4. sixpackjoe – what’s ridiculous? My suggestion that we have one inning of silence to honor a man that spent a lifetime providing baseball fans an opportunity to view a game through his eyes or the idea that the organization waits one season before hiring a full-time replacement?

    If you perceive my comment as being ridiculous then I guess my retort would be that (a) we are missing out on commentary for one inning out of, at a minimum, 1,458 in a year and (b) my idea would be to withdraw commentary during a televised broadcast, not the radio broadcast.

    If you feel that the idea to wait one season before hiring a full-time commentator is ridiculous then perhaps you didn’t read the entire article. This scenario would provide commentators in the form of current and past Mariners announcers as well as non-Mariners announcers to fill in before they go about the process of hiring somebody full time.

  5. thoughtful1 says:

    Let’s keep this in perspective: Eventually someone will do Dave’s work, but nobody will ever, ever replace him. Maybe Dave can pull some strings in the hereafter, and inspire the M’s to have something to show for the 2011 season. My, Oh My! Let’s get some salami and rye bread Grandma!

  6. I’m a Rick Rizz fan, & wouldn’t mind him getting a bigger role.

    But NO to Ron Fairly, the king of the obvious.

    Fairly is the worst sports broadcaster I’ve ever had to suffer through, bar none.

    I’ll never forget the drug lecture (not steroids) he subjected listeners to during a Mariners game years ago (& I’m clean & sober so it wasn’t the anti-drug stance that infuriated me, it was the inappropriateness).

    As a broadcaster, I despise the man.

  7. Oh did i mention, I really dislike Fairly?!

  8. Rick Rizzs deserves to be elevated to the top spot. Aside from putting in the years, he’s knowledgeable, he’s funny, he’s exciting to listen to and has made some great calls over the years. Whoever comes in eventually to “replace Dave” will only be filling the chair he left vacant. He’ll never be replaced. I think the idea of waiting a year to fill that chair is a good one. In the meantime I hope they shine the spotlight a little more on Rick. I hope we get to hear more from Dan Wilson. He and Jay were always the two best post-game interviews during their playing years. Dan gave you insight, and Jay gave you…..well, Jay.

  9. RobLewis says:

    Rizzs: definitely. What’s not to like? He could step into Dave’s shoes.
    Buhner: a little too much redneck vibe for me (I saw his truck once).
    Hindu: yes! I’ve missed him, gap tooth and all.
    Wilson: sure.

  10. nonstopjoe says:

    Ron Fairly would be great, but only if he repeats everything three times rather than twice.

  11. I’ve always liked Rizzs and believe he should have a shot to come out from under Dave’s shadow. Nobody can replace Niehaus but I think with opportunity to be his own man Rizzs will shine.

  12. guidocarmasi says:

    Dave Sims with color man Mile Blowers

    Rick Rizz with colored man the” voice of the Huskies”( I cant remember his name)

  13. bigmeatgrinder says:

    Please not Rizzy. Can you even begin to count the rear-ends he kisses? & no moo, you can’t use your toes! Fairly was a little too obvious, but straight forward and I liked him, however he’s not the man for the job. I don’t know who is. Someone young and energetic, like Dave was 40 some years ago. It will take a while for us all to get used to Mr. Niehaus being gone. God bless you Dave.

  14. footballscaa says:

    No one replaces Dave. Rizz has never learned to just shut his mouth once (ever) in awhile and just let the game speak for itself. Simms is thirty cliches per hour to much to listen to. Fairly is a side man. Curto makes sense, but I’d be surprised if the M’s will recognize his talent. What I’d really like to hear at Safeco is a sound bite of Dave at the end of every M’s win of “My Oh My!!” And of course “Get Out The Rye….” after a grand salami. That, would be the greatest tribute to our Mr. Niehaus.

  15. cocaman says:

    There is only one man to take over for Dave, and that’s Dave Henderson. He was the greatest Mariner of all time, maybe even in all of baseball. He doesn’t let the boring game action get in the way of listing all the great things he has done on the field. Who could be better? Just ask him.

  16. I wonder how Kevin Calabro would do with Baseball

  17. eastmojo says:

    He might not be interested but I think Skip Carey would be a great add to the Broadcast team. Besides knowing his stuff, he has history with the Mariners. Coming from a broadcast family, he would also know how to handle himself under the circumstances.

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