Casey at the Bat | Mariners Marathon Brings Return of Dave Niehaus' Youth

Casey McLain@caseymclain34Senior Analyst IMay 4, 2009

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 27:  Dave Niehaus gives a speech after accepting the Ford C. Frick award for excellence in broadcasting at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 27, 2008 in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I missed a classic showdown today.

I woke up today to begin research and interviews for a first-person narrative piece I’m going to write for my college’s paper about our intramural cricket team. Their match started only shortly after the Mariners game, so I set my DVR and left.

When I got back into my car at about 5 p.m. with the Mariners game still on the radio, I gave up hope on watching the game’s conclusion on my DVR.

It was nice though, in an exciting end, to hear the Mariners’ broadcast team of summers past together again. Rick Rizzs and Dave Niehaus combined to bring excitement to the game that I hadn’t heard in some time.

When Dana Eveland overthrew second base, the aging Niehaus sounded like the old Niehaus. Not in terms of age, but a return to his 1995 playoff-push form.

He even brought back, if only in spirit, the duo’s former third booth member.

“In the words of Ron Fairly, don’t let a pitcher throw it anywhere but to the plate,” exclaimed Niehaus.

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When Jose Lopez ended the game with his second game-winning hit in three days, Niehaus truly brought the past to the present moment.

“They were playing shallow, but not shallow enough,” Niehaus screamed into the microphone, as Lopez' shallow fly ball dropped in front of Oakland’s outfield with the bases loaded.

In 2000, I was listening to the radio in my bedroom as the Mariners beat the Red Sox in 19 innings when Mike Cameron homered to end the game.

In both circumstances, though I wasn’t able to see the excitement live, I felt that the announcing team, the audible artistry in the Mariners booth, gave me a better description of the finale to the game than actually watching it unfold.

Not to be understated, Jason Vargas pitched an absolutely inspiring end to the game. In highlights he proved that he has rotation-worthy stuff.

Vargas and Denny Stark, both recent call ups, have pitched well in the minors and could make Jarrod Washburn trade-able, and may pressure the team's front office to give up on Carlos Silva.

Mariners fans will soon begin to fall in love with this pitching staff.

Chris Jakubauskus has alternated gems and junkers in his short starting career. Look out Boston.

Wladimir Balentien continues to produce when given the opportunity. He was on base in five of his seven plate appearances with two walks and three hits, including a double. Having too many good players for only three outfield positions is a good problem to have, but Balentien should eventually earn more playing time.

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