"A’s Ken Holtzman — No moustache
Wife made tomorrow’s starter shave it off”
San Francisco Examiner, October 18, 1972
Woodie Fryman fires the first pitch of the final game to Matty Alou
San Francisco Examiner, October 1972
Vignettes from Seahawks Fandom
It wasn’t my fault, really. Weren’t all fans supposed to root for the home team?
My parents had proudly escorted my six-year-old sister and I to our first NFL game, a wild card match between Seattle and Miami for the 1999 AFC divisional playoffs. We were swimming in oversized #12 jerseys from a local sports shop, stuffed with hot dogs and overstimulated by the infectious atmosphere of playoff football.
This, then, is how I repaid my parents’ generosity: By taking my cues from a pair of rowdy Dolphins fans in the row behind us, jumping to my feet, and cheering Miami as they scored the game-winning touchdown.
When I was eight years old, I decided to support a new NFL team. I was drawn to shiny colors and friendlier animal logos; I don’t think my reasoning extended past pure aesthetics. My parents, both California transplants in the Pacific Northwest, defended their Seahawks fandom with a ferocity that was both admirable and frightening.
Any concept of maintaining the family legacy of Seattle fandom was lost on me. Every Sunday, my parents berated me for my betrayal. “I can’t believe you don’t like the Hawks,” they said. “Your team is awful. You can’t be a fairweather fan.”
In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have picked the Rams.
When I returned to the fold of Seahawks fandom, my parents sprung for season tickets. Months after my first football game, the Kingdome was imploded to make room for a new stadium. We packed thermoses of hot chocolate and bright, plastic ponchos to adjust to the open-air architecture of Husky Stadium.
Once, on an especially soggy weekend, my mother insisted that my sister and I don snowsuits before the game. These suits could not be passed off as unusually puffy autumn wear — they were thick, one-piece garments in garish shades of purple and pink. I’d like to say that was the first and only time I’ve worn a snowsuit to a football game in mid-September, but I’ve blocked out those memories too successfully to remember.
The Seahawks made their first Super Bowl appearance when I was 15 years old. Eight years later, this is all I remember:
- A large painted sign that read “Beat the Stealers”
- A whiteboard marked up with score predictions, only one of which predicted the Steelers would win
- A mini commemorative Super Bowl XL football to be given to the fan who correctly predicted the final score of the game
- A tape of the game in our VCR, capturing every piece of confetti on Ford Field as the Steelers reveled in their fifth Super Bowl championship
I think I realized the Seahawks would win in the final minutes of the third quarter. Steven Hauschka had just kicked a 40-yard field goal, the Seahawks held a shaky four-point lead, and I could finally take my first deep breath since the game began.
Elsewhere in the bar, emotions were at an unprecedented high. A Seahawks fan with a Go-Pro camera strapped to his forehead leaned over the counter and tossed a full glass of water at the lone 49ers fan on the other side of the bar. Another Seattle fan clambered on top of the nearest table, then flung herself back onto the crowd.
When Richard Sherman tipped the pass out of Michael Crabtree’s hands, effectively clinching the NFC championship for Seattle, the bar exploded. Beer stained the ceiling as empty glasses were hurled through the crowd, tequila-soaked strangers hugged each other, and I meditated on a valuable lesson: Never show up to a championship game sober.
Handcrafted from Rawlings’ world famous Heart of the Hide glove leather, this chair and ottoman combo is sure to be the the main conversation piece when you have guests over. This combo is produced by our master glove craftsmen in the Rawlings Glove Factory and has the ability to be customized/personalized just like your favorite baseball glove. $4999.99
via Baseball Express
Conversation piece, indeed. Like, “Why did you shell out $5,000 for a chair shaped like a baseball glove?”
Cyber Monday: Kindle Edition
Black Friday has come and gone, but there’s still a plethora of baseball literature available on Amazon.com — without waiting in a mob of angry, pajama-ed shoppers or staying out until ungodly hours for a handful of bargains. Here are just a few of the discounted Kindle editions on sale today:
- I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson, $1.99
- Summer of ‘49: The Yankees and the Red Sox in Postwar America by David Halberstam, $1.99
- The Era, 1947-1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World by Roger Kahn, $2.49
- Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion by Roger Angell, $2.99
- Season Ticket by Roger Angell, $2.99
- The Summer Game by Roger Angell, $2.99
- Wild Pitches by Dirk Hayhurst, $3.82
- The Hidden Language of Baseball by Paul Dickson, $3.99
The day Dave Niehaus died, I awoke to his voice on the radio.
To any other Mariners fan, this might’ve been alarming; at the least, it would’ve been confusing. The season had long been put to rest, and the call they were replaying wasn’t one from the 2010 Mariners’ 61 wins. It was The Call, the one every fan has memorized since Edgar lined a double to win the 1995 ALDS.
I didn’t know any of this. I had set my radio to a Christmas music station and fallen asleep to endless rounds of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” It was too early for Christmas music. It was also too early for Dave.
I wasn’t raised on baseball, and I can’t pretend that I have any wonderful memories of the iconic Mariner. His voice wasn’t the soundtrack to my baseball experiences as a kid. In fact, I doubt I ever listened to him call a game while he was alive.
The way I remember Dave isn’t shaped by all the reasons he is immortalized in Mariners’ history. It isn’t for his tenure with the club, it isn’t for his corny expressions or his unbridled enthusiasm for the team. It isn’t for his call of The Double.
No, I will remember Dave because the Mariners remember Dave. It is impossible to strike up a conversation with a Mariners fan and be reminded of anything but Dave’s sweetness, his kindness, his passion for baseball and for those who played it. I almost think it’s better this way — not to be remembered for any accomplishments, personal or professional, but to be remembered for the impact he left on the lives of those around him.