To fully put someone like Dave Niehaus in perspective, we have to recall what following sports was like before 24/7 news cycles, dedicated sports television packages and the digital revolution.
Seth Kolloen of the SunBreak describes what made Niehaus' influence on the Seattle sports landscape so powerful by capturing what it meant to broadcast games before we were able to enhance our experience with technology:
The SunBreak | News | Mariners Broadcaster Dave Niehaus Dies, and a Whole Era Dies With Him
For most of Niehaus' career, Mariner fans saw our team through his eyes -- literally, as so few games were televised. The Mariners' first season, 1977, only 17 of 162 games were on TV. As late as 1994, only 71 games were scheduled for TV broadcasts. Now, we watch the games on TV at the gym with the sound down, or spy the Internet gamecast, or follow the score on our phones. Then, Niehaus was often our only link to the team.
Niehaus did television well, but he preferred radio, and would broadcast the final four innings--that is, the most dramatic ones--over that medium.
"Get out the rye bread and the mustard this time Grandma, it is a grand salami!" -- Dave Niehaus, 1995.
Niehaus' best talent was an actor's knack for using his voice to intensify the drama of the game.
It's hard to diminish the influence of that, even if it's "just sports" - Niehaus will always be a part of Mariners fans' lives, because for so long his voice was part of how you understood baseball and, as such, one slice of the world.