A HOF legend sits and watches

If you think it was strange not hearing Mariners Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus on the airwaves describing Thursday’s Cactus League opener against the Padres, you aren’t the lone ranger.

Niehaus himself thought it was rather strange.

He was sitting in the broadcast booth at Peoria Stadium, but there wasn’t a mircrophone in front of him.

The Mariners changed flagship stations this season, moving back to KIRO-radio after six years at KOMO-radio, and as part of the new deal, for the first time since 1996, not every Cactus League game will be broadcast this year.

Imagine doing 30-something exhibition games, 162 regular season games and, until the past few years, postseason games. You get the gist. The voice of the Mariners since Day One has been busy.

This spring, 19 Cactus League games will be on radio six others on television.

“Before coming down here, I was looking forward to having the time off,” Niehaus told me this morning. “Then, I got in the booth (on Thursday), stayed and scored the whole game. I turned to Rick (longtime booth partner Rick Rizzs) and said ‘you won’t believe this,but I miss doing this game.'”

He laughed and added that he is back in the saddle for the next three days before taking a few days off early next week.

“I am not begging to do them all again, but I’m going to miss it, let me put it that way,” he said.

I asked if he he would like to be a guest writer for MLB.com during his off days — and he politely turned me down.

Rats.

— Jim Street

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