“There were times when I would go downstairs, turn on the TV and turn off the sound and pretend I was Jack Brickhouse and do play by play,” Rizzs said. “My mother would go, ‘What’s going on down there?’ and I would yell, ‘The bases are loaded and Ernie Banks is up.’ ”
Rizzs has been the lead radio announcer for the Mariners since the 2010 death of his great friend and broadcasting partner, the legendary Dave Niehaus. But it was another legend, Brickhouse, who originally spurred Rizzs.
“I would listen to games on the radio, and I would hear that voice coming from the radio and I remember saying, ‘I would like to be that voice,’ ” Rizzs said. “I said that would be a cool job, to be a major-league broadcaster, so I sat down and wrote a letter to Mr. Brickhouse. And he wrote me back.
“I had that letter for years. It was my inspiration. He said, ‘Get a great education, believe in yourself and work hard,’ and that’s basically what I did.”
If Rizzs always seems happy, always upbeat no matter the situation, why wouldn’t he be? He is living his dream, and he spent enough years toiling in the minors to appreciate being in the big leagues.
“The question I have been asked most since coming to Seattle is this: Is Rick really as nice of a guy off air as he is on the air?” said Aaron Goldsmith, who joined the Mariners as Rizzs’ partner in 2013. “And I say, ‘Yes, it’s absolutely the same guy.’ The Rick you hear on the air who is optimistic and thoughtful and thankful is the same person that we interact with on the bus, in the hotel, on the plane, walking around the street. That’s Rick.”
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