Consummate fan lamented

If your eyes didn't tear up a little when you heard that Dave Niehaus died, then somewhere along the line you missed out on one of the best things about living in the Northwest.

Niehaus, voice of the Mariners since the franchise's first game, died Wednesday at his home in Bellevue. He was 75.

For Mariners fans, the sound of Niehaus' iconic cry, "My, oh my!" was as familiar and welcoming as their own living rooms.

Past tense isn't really appropriate, though. Legions of fans can still hear Niehaus' distinctive timbre ringing in their heads.

He was one of them -- first and foremost a fan. Even in bad years, his love for the game was contagious.

In the magic years (sadly, there have only been two -- 1995 and 2001) Niehaus' enthusiasm was irresistible.

Everyone from ballplayers to political figures have had something to say about the loss of the Northwest's most recognizable voice.

But it's fitting to let a fan have the last word. This is from Return of the Dawgs' post on the Seattle Times website, recalling Niehaus' description of the play that beat the New York Yankees in the '95 playoffs:

"What Seattle fan will ever forget hearing the call as Griffey rounded third and crossed home plate. I watched the TV feed of that game muted, so I could hear Dave make the call. Aside from marrying my wife, that will go down as the best decision I ever made."