Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Dave Niehaus
I have a conflict every single November 11th. Don’t mock me or be so quick to call me insensitive, for if that were true, I would never consider my options in the first place.
I am a huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan. Bigger than you, I guarantee it. We have been together for a very long time, before the internet was here for everyone to prove how obsessed with their obsessions they truly are. Leo has been my guy forever. I didn’t have a crush on JTT, or members of boy bands, or other actors, or much of anyone else. It has always been just Leo. I love and respect his craft, and also his face.
And today is his birthday, but today is also Veteran’s Day, and since I have been a loud voice on the internet, I have decided to not go on and on about Leo on his birthday because Veteran’s Day is an important holiday, and people who go out and fight for our country, or who have in the past, should be honored. And you know? I bet Leo would rather have us talk about them than him anyway.
So, I won’t write about a DiCaprio character. Not today, at least. And though the man I choose to honor today was a veteran, I am honoring him for a different reason.
I am from Seattle. Not born, but mostly raised. I am in no way a sports person, but I am a lover of tradition, and a loyal gal to my dear hometown. Dave Niehaus is a name not everyone may know, but his is a name that I think everyone should know. He died three years ago today, and here I am, honoring a local-in-my-life legend.
EINTKILF Dave Niehaus, Seattle Mariners’ Announcer
1. Rye bread + mustard + salami.
Though Niehaus had a much more famous catchphrase, there was also the endearing nickname for a grand slam home run: “salami.” Niehaus’ explained that in the year 1995, Tino Martinez (one of the Mariners) was hitting so many grand slams that one of the times, “Get out the rye bread and the mustard Grandma, it’s grand salami time” came out of his mouth, and it stuck. When he got back to Seattle, everyone had fallen in love with it.
“The Oh Boy Oberto people had salamis sent up to the booth. At the Kingdome above me there was the upper deck and people used to drop jars of mustard tied on ropes and twine down into the booth for me so I could make my own sandwiches, they would send sandwiches down.”
2. Rap music and baseball do mix.
It must be a PNDub thing, you guys. I listen to a lot of rap music, I am Seattle through and through, and I must admit that you just don’t hear all that much about baseball in rap music. You know what, though? Macklemore, though he is not my favorite rapper by any means, the first time I heard his voice was in the song “My, Oh My.” It gave me chills, and I am in no way the biggest sports fan of all time.
The song plays like a baseball game, though. A good one. The kind that you watch on the edge of your seat, complete with Dave Niehaus’ voice announcing “I don’t believe it! I just don’t believe it! My! Oh! My!” and the goosebumps come, and the tears spring, in a way that anyone’s heart who beats Seattle cannot help but feel.
3. “‘If’ is the biggest small word in the English language.”
4. Loyalty is vital.
My most important lesson in any EINTKILF, I’m pretty sure. But Niehaus was a loyal man. He outlasted owners, managers, players, and coaches. Niehaus broadcasted with the Mariners from 1977 (the team’s inaugural year) through his death in 2010. He was with the team the entire time, and if that doesn’t warm your heart, I am not sure what else will.
5. Nicknames rule.
Some things you may not know, but you should know: Ken Griffey Jr’s nickname “The Kid” came from Niehaus, notably because his father also played for the Mariners.
More famously, Niehaus was the first person to call Alex Rodriguez–a man the Mariners used to proudly call their own–his very famous nickname “A Rod.” As far as I know, people still call Rodriguez that, though I remember when he became “Pay Rod” when he left us for the Texas Rangers.
6. Be good at what you do.
“The worst thing you can do is emulate somebody else. You have to develop your own style. I’m not a fan of radio and TV broadcast schools. I say get a liberal education and know something about the world around you.” Dave Niehaus
I couldn’t love that quote more.
7. A voice can make history.
Niehaus’ voice is more recognizable than his face, which is an unusual occurrence. They say that our eyes are the window into our souls, but what about the sound of a voice? There is something so soothing about the familiarity of a particular voice. We all have that person–one of our parents, our best friend, Morgan Freeman. Well, Niehaus fits right in there for millions of people, as well. He was as vital to the Mariners and to the baseball watching experience than anyone actually on the field. A voice can resonate forever.
As his broadcast partner said, after Niehaus’ death, “When you turned on the radio, everything was right with the world when you heard Dave’s voice.”
8. Rooting for your home team is important.
The Seattle Mariners are not the greatest baseball team in the history of time, you guys. This is not shocking to anyone who lives in Seattle, or who follows baseball, or both. But that is beside the point. The point is not how good or bad someone is, the point is sticking with what you’ve got.
That applies to more than just a baseball team. Love the one you’re with, you know?
9. The ones that love us never really leave us.
Thanks, Albus Dumbledore, but also:
This is the best tribute to Niehaus I can think of, and these are his grandkids, and I’m crying.
10. “When there’s nothing else to say, what do you say?
‘My oh my’-I’ve just always said that.”
Dedicated to my very dearest pal. <3