I didn't love Jim Mandich at first. ...didn't even like him, really. When I really started obsessing over the Dolphins in high school, I had no connection with the teams of the 70s and the Mad Dog was just a guy who screamed over the action on the radio when things went well, frustrating me that I couldn't tell what was going on. Over the years, I realized that Jim was, more than a color guy, a fan of the Dolphins. He cared. And since I cared so much, I started to love him. "Awright Miami!" means something because of him. I learned to start screaming with excitement right along with him.
His weekday show kept me on the pulse of the team, and sane at work. He provided a bridge between the team that I knew and the old teams that I didn't. And he was accessible to his fans. I wrote him emails from my desk, to which he always found time to respond.
It's strange to feel loss for someone you don't really know. But we do. Thanks for the ride, Mad Dog.