On the sudden passing of Dave Niehaus yesterday, many of us wished the ballpark could be renamed Dave Niehaus Field. Not legally possible, short of a breach of contract, but some suggested a co-naming along the lines of Safeco Field at Dave Niehaus Grounds.
That would be nice tribute. But it isn't nearly enough. The City of Seattle needs to rename the 1100 and 1200 blocks of 1st Avenue South as Dave Niehaus Avenue South.
There is bound to be resistance to renaming a street, particularly when the street is a major North-South artery that bisects the city from Boeing Field to Westlake. M's fans would relish making that transit on Niehaus Avenue but renaming the entire street would be confusing and disruptive. So just the little stretch next to the old ballyard will do. If the handful of establishments facing the stadium on 1st Avenue don't like it they can lump it, though I suspect Pyramid Alehouse will get on board with the move.
In San Diego, the home of the Chargers is officially titled Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field. Nobody calls it The Murph anymore and Jack Murphy, the longtime sportswriter who championed the stadium, is rarely mentioned in passing. The city missed an opportunity in renaming Stadium Way as Qualcomm Way. But they got it right from the start at Petco Park, where the Padres get their mail at 19 Tony Gwynn Drive. The street continues north through downtown as 7th Avenue and somehow, nobody gets lost.
Dave Niehaus has always been bigger than the game in Seattle. He is a hero that can never be replaced and for whom no hyperbolic tribute is too excessive. It would be a fitting gesture to his memory for the letterhead of the Seattle Mariners to read 77 Dave Niehaus Avenue South. Royal Brougham's new northside bridge will be handsomely bookended. Fans will forever approach the Home Plate entrance at the corner of Dave Niehaus Avenue and Edgar Martinez Drive, think of The Double and the two giants of Seattle baseball that gave us all so much.
Our voice, mentor and friend was taken from us suddenly. He lived through the pathetic trainwreck that was the 2010 Seattle Mariners season, and we took for granted that Dave's warm cadence would be there when Spring came around once again. We cannot show him the love that we would have had we known it was his last season. What we can do is show our respect on Niehaus Ave.