Larry Stone: Why Mariners broadcaster Mike Blowers has missed much of this season

Tribune Content Agency

First, and most important, Mike Blowers wants you to know he’s feeling good now, in good spirits, and plans to be back soon doing what he loves: calling Mariners games.

Blowers’ absence from the Mariners TV broadcast for going on a month — with the exception of one game he did on the previous homestand — has been the cause of much concern. And speculation.

As is the case with longtime announcers, an affinity is built over time. They begin to be regarded almost as one of the family. And Blowers has been a member of the Mariners family in the booth for 17 years, back to the Dave Niehaus days. Not to mention the six seasons he played for them as a slugging third baseman, a vital cog in the 1995 miracle run to the American League Championship Series. There’s a certain comfort attached to hearing his voice, game after game.

So when Blowers’ absences mounted, fans understandably wanted to know what was going on. Blowers has been a staple as the television analyst on ROOT Sports, offering his baseball insights alongside Dave Sims or Aaron Goldsmith. But for weeks now that role has been filled by the likes of Angie Mentink, Dan Wilson, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Mike Cameron.

Times reporter Ryan Divish and I have received numerous inquiries that basically can be boiled down to: Where the heck is Blowers? And Blowers says his phone has been blowing up with calls and emails from well-meaning friends and colleagues. A private sort, Blowers has been reluctant to share his story, but he agreed that it would be wise to do so now to quell any conspiracy theories that might crop up and to reassure fans.

There’s nothing sinister going on, folks. Simply put, the culprit has been an ongoing health issue — two of them, really; one segueing into the other seamlessly to create a hellish month of inactivity. Blowers says that watching the games from home has been a helpless and frustrating experience that he is ready to put in his past.

At first, it was a nagging case of bronchitis, mixed with a sinus infection and the flu, that kept Blowers, who is 58, out of commission for two weeks. And just when he was feeling better from that, and ready to go back to work, Blowers suffered an accident — a fall (while running) that resulted in a concussion and three stress fractures in his face.

Blowers is reluctant to provide further details, which is well within his rights and which I will respect. Suffice it to say that he just wasn’t feeling right, suffering from vertigo — not uncommon with concussions. Blowers tried to do one game but realized that he needed more time. And the Mariners graciously granted him all the time he needed.

He hopes that time is nearly over. Blowers saw a physician who is well-versed in concussion protocol. He has begun physical therapy to reposition the crystals in his inner ear, which affect balance.

“I just want people to know that I’m in good spirits, and I’m doing fine,” Blowers said.

He added that he expects to be back in a week and a half to two weeks. The Mariners begin an eight-game road trip to Texas, San Diego and Anaheim on Friday. Blowers certainly hopes to be back in the booth by the start of the next homestand — Monday, June 12 against the Marlins.

Kevin Martinez, the Mariners’ senior vice president of marketing and communication, said he is looking forward to Blowers’ eventual return.

“We really miss Mike, but his health is more important,” Martinez said.

It will be a welcome return of a Mariner family member.