Dave Niehaus had only called a few innings for the Seattle Mariners in the past couple of years on television before handing the rest of the television game duties over to Dave Simms.

For most of us, that change would have us quickly mute our televisions and turn on that radio to keep hearing the voice of Mr. Niehaus, the real Mr. Mariner.

So as we sit here tonight and rewatch “The Double” or when Randy Johnson closed out the Angels in the one-game playoff over and over and over again on YouTube, video tape or whatever other media that you have your classic Mariners moments on, we have to think about who is going to be the poor soul who is going to replace this legend.

How long does it take to replace a legend? Should we ask the Cubs if they’ve found a suitable replacement yet?

When I watch the Mariners, I really cannot imagine another voice calling the Mariners game in and game out.

The first name that comes to mind is Dave Simms, but no one in Seattle really enjoys listening to Simms and his stories that deal with baseball.

You can sense that Mike Blowers wants to physically hurt Simms in the booth after his 184th horrible joke that inning.

Simms is a great football announcer and seems like a really decent man, but I don’t think he is the right guy to take over for Dave Niehaus.

How about former voice of the Sonics, Kevin Calabro? Outside of Niehaus, Calabro is probably the next most recognizable voice in Seattle sports. He has just as many catchphrases and exciting moments.

Calabro called all the great moments from the early ’90s and on. He’s done a few Mariners games here and there, and he has been serviceable.

But as a full-time replacement to Dave Niehaus? I really don’t think he’d be up for it, especially with an NBA team returning soon to Seattle, and his heart would be there and calling the Sonics 2.0 games.

Rick Rizzs? He seems like the most likely candidate overall. He’s not as hated as Simms and has been by Niehaus’ side for years and has learned an awful lot about the business from him. Rizzs definitely has the voice and has been with the Mariners in some capacity or another for as long as I can remember.

I almost feel that Niehaus would pick Rizzs to be his replacement. I can say that I wouldn’t mind so much if Rizzs took over eventually, but I don’t view him as the long term replacement.

Do you?

For the first game of 2011, I feel the microphone should be silenced in tribute to Dave Niehaus. He’s called all but 100 games of the Mariners and I feel that leaving the microphone silent and letting our minds remember all the calls from the past and imagine him calling the game the only way he could call it.

It is going to be hard to replace him and for some of us who’ve been spoiled by his greatness, the person who takes over for him will never live up to the immeasurable standards put in front of them.

Dave Niehaus was family and you cannot replace family, the chair will always be empty and we’ll just have to rely on YouTube or other forms of media to hear the greatest voice to ever call the game of baseball.

Dave Niehaus is irreplaceable. 

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