Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dave Niehaus taught me how to score a game

It's been more than a month since Dave Niehaus passed away. It didn't seem real to me until I saw part of the memorial on TV last Saturday.

I cried because I knew that come April I wouldn't be greeted by "Hello Everybody...."

I cried because it was so obvious how many people truly loved the man.

I cried because his family who had little time with him as it was no longer has him.

Dave Niehaus made me want to score a game, taught me to score a game. My first scorecards were crude and hand drawn on notebook paper. I consequently used MS Excel to make a scorecard I could use to keep score. I didn't like the ones that were available for purchase they were too small for me. I always fantasized about the camera zooming in on my lovingly self made scorecard and Dave marveling at my ingenuity and terrific between inning doodles.

Sometimes when they showed the booth you could see Dave's mammoth scorebook I was jealous. I would love to have looked through that book. I think the one thing that got me kind of hooked on keeping score was Dave talking about pulling down past season's books and looking through them and remembering this game or that. Like a diary.

They used to always show people in the crowd keeping score and Dave and Rick would talk about how everyone's scorecard was different. That Phil Rizzuto used to have a WW code that meant Wasn't Watching. I had a special code too SBC Sat By Caitlin, she was a chatty kid and sometimes I missed a play or 2 (or more) talking with her.
Now I have an app for my phone that I can keep score with. Which is nice...but... a little less romantic and has no room for notes or doodles.

Mr Niehaus I'm going to miss you a lot. Many a time you would talk about your childhood in Indiana and I could almost feel the hot summer heat and see the cornstalks waving in the breeze as you pulled an ear off the stalk and sunk your teeth into the fresh sweet corn of your youth.

I once rode the elevator with Dave at the Kingdome, I wanted to pull out my scorecard and have him sign it. But I'm a chicken.

Dave you've left us in the capable hands of Rick Rizzs but I'll miss you forever and always.


Dragonfly Lady said...
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Dragonfly Lady said...

That was very touching and Oh so true. It is really going to hit us on Opening Day when we don't hear Dave's voice. Steve and I talked to him when walking into Dodger's Stadium a few years ago to watch the M's. We were also too chicken and too awed to try for an autograph. Besides, we were having way too much fun chatting with him!

Brian said...

When I first heard he passed, I actually thought the only way to pay tribute would be to leave the broadcast booth empty every Opening Day from now on. Now I think Rick will do fine.

I learned how to keep score from Strat-O-Matic Baseball.

I'm going to be sad when Ralph Kiner passes. Seeing Ralph on TV as a kid made me that much more interested in the game, and I loved Kiners Korner. Bob Murphy made me want to do radio, and I was sad to see him go.