I Miss You, Ron Fairly

broadcaster_sea_fairly.jpgToday’s Seattle Mariners-Houston Astros game was marked by an interesting broadcasting footnote. It was the first appearance of the season — on TV — for former Mariners’ announcer Ron Fairly.

Fairly was a  broadcaster for the M’s for fourteen years. (His career was eulogized by sportswriter Seth Kolloen here.) While Fairly was with the Mariners, I would constantly complain to my friends and family about Fairly’s rambling, folksy banter.

So, today, I turned on the TV and was stunned to hear — yes — that rambling, folksy banter. And… well… I realized that I had no idea how much I missed it.   

Dave Niehaus (who persistently calls Fairly “Red”) and Fairly have a great rapor. (To be fair, much of this might be Niehaus — the greatest announcer in baseball history. He could be charismatic sitting across the booth from Vladimir Putin.) 

But what I realized is something interesting about baseball announcers. Players come and go. As do managers, front office personnel, even stadiums. But Dave Niehaus has been the voice of the Mariners for 30 years.

The point seems obvious — but still…

When I was an 8 year old kid first listening to games on the radio (on KIRO 710), to whom did I listen? Dave Niehaus. Who announced the Mariners when I was a pimply, unhappy teenager? Dave Niehaus. When I was driving home from having lost my virginity? Check. Dave Niehaus. When I ended up in Seattle after my grisly divorce, who did I listen to in order to get through those difficult summer months? Indeed.

Broadcasters are the easiest of friends. Ron Fairly kept me company — faithfully, dependably — for nearly fifteen years.

So, yes: I miss you, Ron Fairly. My favorite excerpts from his commentary on last night’s M’s-Astros game:

*

1. FAIRLY, on Richie Sexson’s pop-up (riffing on a favorite line of his): “You can tell you haven’t had a very good at-bat when you hit it and three guys call for it.”

And, 2. FAIRLY, on Willie Bloomquist’s expanded role on the team: “Now, with Beltre’s bad thumb, Willie Boom-Boom is going to get the chance to play a little bit.”

*

Ah, Ron. I’m assuming that Boom-Boom is hyphenated.

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