Get out the Kleenex and camera, Grandma
The Seattle Mainers assured that another generation of Dave Niehaus fans will be given a reminder of his role with the franchise when they unveiled a statue of their late broadcaster inside Safeco Field on Friday.
Placed permanently in the right-center field concourse, the statue is Neihaus seated in front of a microphone and scorebook – with the seat next to him open.
Fans can get their pictures taken beside him, as former broadcast partner Rick Rizzs did at a quiet ceremony.
Marilyn Niehaus, Dave’s widow, said she was moved several weeks ago when she first saw a version of the statue.
“I cried with a huge smile on my face. It captured David’s likeness and spirit perfectly,” she said. “David never, ever wanted to retire from doing what he loved. With this unbelievable statue, it’s almost as if he never did. He would be humbled by this honor. Generations will be able to see David at his best, smiling at all of us.”
Chicago-based artist Lou Cella created the sculpture.
SMOAK SITS AGAIN
First baseman Justin Smoak wasn’t in the lineup, sidelined by a strained groin that’s the latest in a series of minor but debilitating injuries.
“Before this year, I’d never been hurt,” Smoak said. “Now I’ve hurt my thumb, my face, my groin.”
It’s changed Smoak’s plans for the off-season.
“I’m going to train differently. I always thought I trained hard, but this year I’ll work harder, work on my diet, too,” Smoak said.
The team says Smoak could play again this weekend, though it’s as likely he’ll miss the Texas series and play on the road.
Ailing third baseman Chone Figgins, in his second disappointing season with Seattle, ran the bases and took batting practice Friday and is working toward playing again this month.
Someone asked manager Eric Wedge why?
“The point is, playing might give him peace of mind in the off-season,” Wedge said.
Hard to imagine.
After batting .259 in 161 games last season, Figgins has played only 81 games this year, batting .188. Figgins has two years left on his contract, worth $17 million.
Rookie Steve Delabar, who was the winner when Luis Rodriguez hit a walk-off home run against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, enjoyed his off-day Thursday. “I slept and answered about 50 telephone calls or texts from back home,” said the pride of Elizabethtown, Ky. … Delabar’s win was the 21st this season by a Mariners rookie pitcher, led by Michael Pineda’s nine. Delabar also became the seventh different player to record his first win with Seattle this season. … What did manager Wedge do with his off-day Thursday? After spending the day with his family, he and wife Kate went to the movies. What did they see? “Cowboys and Aliens,” Wedge said. “It’s going to be awhile before I get to pick another movie.”
Seattle hosts Texas in a 4:10 p.m. game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers are Colby Lewis (12-10, 4.29) for the Rangers vs. Anthony Vasquez (1-3, 7.20) for the Mariners.