It was, of course, a little over a year ago that we lost the fantastic Dave Niehaus, and soon thereafter, or long thereafter, I don't remember, theannounced that, for the 2011 regular season, they would replace Niehaus on the radio not with one voice, but with seven voices - seven familiar, rotating voices from the Mariners' past. Rick Rizzs would assume the complete play-by-play, and the guests would help him out. It was intended as a temporary solution, as the team didn't want to make somebody try to replace a beloved, departed legend.
Many figured that the Mariners would consider hiring another voice full-time after the year. After the Niehaus wound had healed not completely, but sufficiently. Turns out those people were wrong. Or maybe they were right, and the Mariners did consider it, but the Mariners aren't doing it. Announced today:
The Mariners will again use a rotating group of seven broadcasters to work alongside veteran play-by-play man Rick Rizzs on their radio network next season, according to Randy Adamack, the team's vice president of communications.
The lineup, in case you'd forgotten, listed in no particular order but with Ken Levine at the top because he's awesome:
All of them have or go by first names that are three or four letters long. Weird.
The plan seems to be to do this for one more year before probably committing to a full-timer. Of course, we've heard that before, but whatever, it's not like I'm going to accuse the Mariners of lying. When they do get around to looking at potential full-timers, I don't know if they'll look at names from within this group, outside of this group, or both, and I don't know how much play-by-play responsibility said full-timer would have. It's all very complicated, to me. I know there are a lot of people who'd love to hear them some Mike Curto, but those people probably shouldn't get their hopes up just yet.
As for the 2012 plan - I'm gonna be honest with you, I don't listen to the Mariners on the radio very often. I obviously listen to the Mariners on the radio when I'm in my car, but I'm seldom in my car during games, and as much as I'd be open to listening to the radio broadcast with the TV on mute, there's a syncing issue there, and besides, I like Dave Sims. So I can't speak with a lot of authority on how well the rotating group did in 2011. But from what I did hear, I have few complaints, although I liked some of the guys more than some of the other guys. Levine's my favorite, but people have different tastes, and Ken Wilson's voice is like the caramel they drop on top of the biscuit in a Twix commercial. So creamy, so smooth.
If you're a Mariners fan who listens to the radio way more than I do, feel free to chime in in the comments, because you know better. I have the platform and the paycheck, but you have the superior knowledge.*