clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

It's designed to break your heart

Or: I still miss you so, so much Dave Niehaus.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday Gary Hill Jr. was kind enough to have me on the Seattle Mariners Podcast. It's a good podcast, and Gary is a hell of a guy. If you enjoy podcasts and/or the Mariners I think you owe it to yourself to subscribe and listen to it regularly. It may seem like I'm advertising this as a way of cross-promoting my appearance, but what I'm going to tell you to do is skip everything I say. You get enough of that here, anyway. No before/if you listen to me, before you listen to Gary play the highlights of Robinson Cano's amazing start to the year, I encourage you to go outside. Hell, if you're feeling particularly romantic hold a baseball.

One of my favorite things about the show is that Gary has access to the Mariners' archives, and he uses it to find incredible, decades old audio to share. So today, forget everything else and skip to the final two minutes. There you'll find Dave Niehaus, forever the Voice of Summer in the Pacific Northwest, do a reading from a portion of Bart Gaimatti's "The Green Field of the Mind":

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn't this summer, but all the summers that, in this my fortieth summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game's deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three times three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio--not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television--and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. There, in that warm, bright place, what the old poet called Mutability does not so quickly come.

It's an off day, but it is 75 degrees. Tomorrow, the first place Seattle Mariners will play their first game of the season at Safeco Field, in front of a crowd of 45,000.

I hope you forgive the indulgence.