On a scale of 1 to Rick Rizzs, how a lot pleasure did you are feeling Friday when Cal Raleigh clinched a playoff berth for the Mariners? 

Was your emotion on par with that of the M’s play-by-play man who’s been within the workforce’s broadcast sales space for 37 seasons? Is that even doable, or is his enthusiasm as unmatchable as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak? 

Rizzs has been behind the mic for a slew of magical Mariners moments. His “Everybody Scores!” name of Luis Sojo’s base-clearing double in 1995 could also be his most memorable of all. But the fervour in his voice Friday when Raleigh ripped a solo dwelling run over the right-field wall with two outs within the backside of the ninth was distinct. Given that it despatched the Mariners to the postseason for the primary time since 2001, it was equal components exhalation and exhilaration. 

Teammates swarm Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh after Raleigh hit a walk-off home run to beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 and secure the Mariners first post season berth in 21 years. (Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times)

“I wasn’t sure exactly what I said after I said it, but I got so excited — it was 21 years of joy and jubilation coming out of me,” stated the 68-year-old Rizzs, who screamed “How sweet it is!” after the ball left the yard. “That’s what baseball is — it’s a wonderful journey. You really appreciate the good times knowing that you’ve battled through the rough times in this game.”

It’s onerous to know the way a lot the playoff drought — which was the longest within the 4 main males’s North American sports activities leagues earlier than final week — weighed on Rizzs. There are some broadcasters whose temper is contingent on their groups’ success, placing concern in inanimate objects with each defeat.

But the Mariners shedding a recreation or season by no means equated to Rizzs shedding his cool. The standings might have stated the M’s have been 20 video games under .500, however the look on his face stated they have been undefeated.

“Rick takes it in stride more than anyone I’ve ever known. He’s about as optimistic as anyone I’ve ever been around. He always thinks the next day is going to be better than the day before” stated Gary Hill Jr., Rizzs’ producer. “Every year going into every season, he thinks, ‘That’s the year.’ And as it turns out, this was the year.”

This perspective was partially instilled in him by late Mariners broadcast legend Dave Niehaus, a Hall of Famer whose statue is within the right-field stands at T-Mobile Park. Rizzs idolized Niehaus as an announcer and cherished him as a buddy, telling listeners Friday that even when they couldn’t see Dave, he was proper subsequent to him within the sales space — including later that he would have jumped out of it upon Raleigh’s homer.

And although Cal’s lengthy ball won’t stack up with, say, Edgar Martinez’s series-clinching double within the 1995 ALDS, it nonetheless ranks as one of many all-time nice moments in Mariners historical past. 

So how did Rizzs put together for one thing like that? 

“My thought process is that it can happen at any moment. It could happen with two batters in front of him, or the guy in front of him, and then Cal Raleigh comes up and it goes to a 3-2 count, I’m thinking I’m trying to be prepared for Cal’s moment, not so much my moment, but Cal’s moment,” Rizzs stated. “I just wanted to make sure that the fans enjoyed it. I didn’t prepare anything. Maybe I should have. But you just gotta be in the moment and let it happen.” 

You can inform Rizzs is simply as keen on broadcasting as he’s baseball. He can rattle off previous calls he or Niehaus made verbatim, as if the performs have been unfolding in actual time. But as a lot as he appreciates the craft, it’s clear he appreciates folks much more — whether or not it’s gamers, coaches, executives, his broadcast workforce or most of all, the listeners. 

“This is all about the fans,” Rizzs stated. “I wanted to make sure I got them excited, and I felt their excitement; that’s why I almost jumped out of the booth.” 

I’ve gotten to know these followers and their unwavering optimism towards the Mariners through the years. Matt Canida would inform me the workforce was certain for the playoffs each time he introduced me mozzarella sticks at Paddy Coyne’s in Bellevue. Eric Brake could be simply as insistent throughout karaoke evening at The Lime in Kirkland. My skepticism was ignored, and why shouldn’t it have been? They have been channeling their inside Rizzs.

Now the M’s are headed to Toronto to tackle the Blue Jays in a best-of-three to advance to the second spherical. The second of 4 rounds in Rizzs’ thoughts.

“Now we can take a deep breath, reset, and go win a World Series,” he stated.

Hey, why begin doubting now?

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