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Monday, April 13, 2009

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Happy they won...really sad about Harry. I mean you know its gonna happen but you never expect it.

My six year old struggled sadly to do his Harry imitation today. It's not very good, but it made me smile a bit.

If only there was one more occasion to smuggle the transistor under the cover to try to stay awake for a game from San Diego.

So, um prospect spotlight:

SP Michael Stutes (AA):

5+ IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K tonight. He had a no-hitter through the first 5 innings and came out in the 6th but was out of gas. Still, considering he was double jumped to Reading, that's pretty impressive. Reading has a great starting staff when you look at them...Worley, Stutes, Savery, etc.

Does anyone know if they're going to add anything to the jerseys for the rest of the season?

I just finished watching the CSN tribute to Harry. I scheduled my Tivo to record it on-line after I heard the news.

When I finished watching, I turned on CSN knowing that they were going to replay today's game at 8pm. I listened today, and I wanted to catch what the tv guys were saying.

The first voice, I heard was Harry's. I thought I was hallucinating for a second. Comcast is now replaying yesterday's game against Colorado.

Yesterday, I missed most of the game... Easter and the Masters took over at my parents house, checking the score of the game on my phone.

It was the bottom of the ninth... two outs... I ran into the other room to watch the last out of the game.

I didn't know that was the last out... the last play... the last pitch Harry would ever call.

Every time I worry about our starting pitching, I look at the Mets staff and realize we're not alone:

Pelfrey: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R,5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HRs so far.

though Wang for the Yankees did far worse from what I saw.

NEPP: Careful, don't wake the sleeping Clout with that prospect praise.

Oh yeah, the game.

The Nationals are horrendous. On the one hand, you think it shouldn't even have been that close. On the other hand, Washington botched several plays and Cabrera was characteristically erratic. It's hard to say what effect Kalas' sudden death had on the players. At first it seemed like it might leave them unfocused, then it seemed like they were inspired.

Offensively, they've certainly come around, with the exception of Rollins and Coste.

I'm listening to Comcast's rebroadcast of Sunday's game as I do things around the house. It's comforting. One thing I realize: I'll miss the pauses between Kalas' calls almost as much as the voice itself. You won't be hearing much silence between pitches the rest of the year, that's for sure.

Anyone else troubled by how completely hittable Jamie Moyer was today? Line drives all over the place.

My father passes along this bit from a conversation he and mom had with Harry a few years back (20 maybe?)

Mom: "You have a beautiful voice".

Harry: "Well I had nothing to do with that"

On the Nats, I think Larry Anderson put it best during the broadcast, "Its hard to believe these guys are 0-6" -After the 2nd error on a routine play.

git a little reminder today that just because Condrey has done well in his assignment, he's still Clay Condrey and cant be facing lefty sluggers late in the game.

I'd love to hear Franzke's home run call for Victorino if anyone is able to get audio. Shame I had to work today, I felt like my mind was on another planet.

I am 27 and I can't imagine watching baseball without Harry Kalas. I think of every baseball play I see in terms of how Harry would call it. Very few things make me shed tears and this is one of them.

Called up by Dad tonight and talked about Kalas passing. Since I am only 31, my gold standard for Phils' broadcasting is Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn. It was what I grew up with and listened to while I was doing various chores, working various summer jobs, driving the car around, down at the Shore, or staying up late to catch a West Coast game on the radio.

Really appreciated what they brought to the broadcast especially through what were pretty lean years while I was growing up except for '93 which was like a glorious oasis in a sea of losing.

My Dad said he always appreciated Kalas but his gold standard growing up was By Saam. Knew my Dad always had a special place for Saam in his heart because he was generally the one constant on what usually were perennially bad Phils' teams and really portrayed the crushing collapse in '64.

While my dad said he thought Kalas was an initial improvement over Campbell, it look a long time for him to grow on my dad. Dad further explained that he always thought that Kalas' real breakout season was in '75. By then he has started to establish a real repore with Whitey and no longer felt overshadowed by Saam's looming presence due to his impending retirement.

As the Phils finally became a decent team again in the late '70s with a new batch of homegrown talent, Kalas and Whitey really began to shine together including making some of the tough playoff diasspointments easier to bear with including the '77 NLCS with the Dodgers.

Basically my dad said that while the Phils have generally had mixed results on the field over the years even with the 2 WS and a couple of division titles, that they have essentially had HOF talent in the broadcasting booth since the mid-1950s with Saam and Kalas. Going to be a tough act to follow.

Andy - 3 GO and 10 FO too.

Interesting stuff, MG, as I'm definitely too young to appreciate the perspective. Probably too soon to ask where the Phils go from here. I'll probably be spending the season with Franszke and LA and the TV turned down.

Rest eternal grant Harry, O God, and let light perpetual shine upon him.

Zolecki, with a spring conversation with Harry:

"Me: "Happy birthday, Harry. You broadcasting today?"

Kalas: "No."

Me: "So why are you here then?"

Kalas: "For the love of the game."

CitiField is a big pitcher's park. Gonna hurt David Wright's HR numbers.

High Hopes - are you sure that's tobacco?

I met Harry once when I was in High School. My father and I were in Sproul Lanes out in Springfield, PA (DELCO). I was getting set to bowl and my father turned to look behind us. He smiled and nudged me in the shoulder.

"Hey Leon, that's Harry Kalas."

I turned, and there he was. I did a double take. I couldn't believe it. Here was the man who had called Phillies games all my life. And, like the typical cliche, I thought he'd be taller. He looked right at me and smiled, and that's when I realized he knew I recognized him. My mouth had fallen open in shock and I hadn't even realized.

He waved and said hello. "What your name?" he asked in that voice I knew so well.

"Uhhh...Leon." I couldn't think of anything to say. Mercifully, my father noticed my total lack of speaking ability. He told Harry that the two of us were at Sproul bowling. Harry said he was watching one of his grandchildren bowl. We made small talk for a few seconds, then Dad got up to take his turn bowling.

As he released the ball, Harry did a small play by play of the bowling ball as it rolled down the lanes and struck the pins. My father and I doubled over in laughter, and when we calmed down we thanked him. There was a bit more small talk, I remember one topic being that Harry and I didn't think the Phillies were going to bring back Scott Rolen for the next season. Then he left.

We had talked for maybe 10, 15 minutes at most. My family met him at Sproul again years later, after I had graduated college and moved down to Baltimore for my Ph.D. He was signing autographs for some fans there, and my mother, thinking quickly, gave him something to sign. He must have laughed at the sight. It was an edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

I still have the paper. I guess I'll get it framed now.

Started listening to the Phils with By Samm, Whitey, & Bill Campbell. Still remember the Ballantine beer commercials and seeing the billboard in old Connie Mack.

Harry's passing hit me harder than Whitey's. Although Harry tried to build a rapport with Larry Anderson, it was never the same cadence--and what will be missed is the cadence of the call.

If you listen to the newer announcers they do not have a cadence. Always a need to fill dead air. A lost art from the time when listening to the radio in the background was more prevalent than watching an image on a tube.

Fair thee well, Harry and Whitey. You are missed and well appreciated.

Harry the K was succinct, yet eloquent. Getting miles of memories out of inches of words is now a lost art.

A few years ago, during a game, I noticed Harry in the press dining room at RFK (there was a large window into the “premium” food). I mentioned it to a friend, and he was able to get us into the radio booth between innings. A production staffer tapped Harry on the shoulder and mentioned that a fan wanted to meet him, to which Harry spun around and sprung up from his chair and said “Harry Kalas, great to meet you, what’s your name?” I was dumbstruck. The voice of my Phillies memories was standing in front of me. I think I managed to mutter my name and Harry, understanding the situation as quickly as he did a slider out of Lefty’s hand or a Michael Jack Schmidt drive, noted that it was a great day to be at the park, and what a hit Ryan Howard had earlier- Ryan had hit his 47th home run of the season.

On a long and emotional day, I realize that while we grieve, Harry’s was a life well lived. Fortunately, we were able to share it with him. Thank you, Mr. Kalas, for the firm handshake, warm smile, and one hell of a voice.

And thank you, Fightins, for your heart today.

I've been bummed all day. Such a sad day.

And I think they really should have postponed the game. Poor decision, IMHO.

Montgomery said they considered postponing it but because he died so close to game it was too complicated...I don't know whether that's true or not...but it was the Nats home opener.

Got the "World Wide Leader" on now and they're wasting time talking about the Mets new field. I hope they do right by Harry on BBTN. The Mets loss doesn't even help the pain.

David Eckstein is dwarfed by Erin Andrews. Hysterical.

apparently they asked the team if they wanted to postpone the game and they declined because of how close to game time it was and that harry would have wanted it that way

I met Harry in Apil 1981 in Oklahoma City - the Phils were in town to play the then AAA affiliate OKC 89'ers. Yes, it was like this year - April, and the World Champs were in town.
My friend and I snuck into the press box an hour before the game, and sitting there were Harry and Whitey, eating fried chicken. Harry turned around as we entered, looked at us, knowing we were fans, and said, "You boys want some chicken?"
So, he gave us chicken, we ate there for a moment, and then said a thanks and goodbye.
It was a wonderful couple of minutes and I will never forget it.
And, of course, I will never forget his voice and masterful delivery - that which I listened to for years beginning in my high school days on the radio.
Thanks, Harry. I will miss you.
God rest your soul.

I owe this man a better tribute than the last two posts, but a deadline interfered today. Look for a piece in Wednesday's Metro.

For me, Harry Kalas is synonymous with Phillies baseball. I cannot imagine watching a game without his voice. Just a very, very sad day and a tremendous loss for everyone who loves baseball.

I'm begining to let go of Pat Burrell. He failed to homer off of Eaton on Sunday,and tonite,despite a homer and double,he failed at bat against Nick Swisher! Nick is batting .450,hit his 3rd homer,AND pitched a scoreless inning. He could be our RH bench bat AND our 7th BP pitcher.
I hope that by trying to add a little humor to a sad day that I don't get lumped in with Wheels.

Something I'm wondering about HK. He was in obviously ill health, yes? This has been confirmed by many sources. He had an undisclosed surgery last month. So why was he traveling with the team? Couldn't they have limited him to home dates, as many older broadcasters have done with other teams? I understand that Kalas didn't want to retire, but at least temporarily this would have seemed to be a good way of handling things.

I just wonder if this could have been avoided, is all. It doesn't seem like it was a really good idea for him to be hopping planes all over the country if he was in such bad shape.

Maybe getting a little ahead of myself here. Fans and his family/friends were definitely robbed of the proper way of saving goodbye to Harry Kalas. At the same time, he didn't needlessly suffer for an extended period and he was able to exit on some recent professional high points.

One thing that I didn't want to see was Kalas potentially going through a different divorce this coming offseason with the Phils where his role might have notably been reduced in the future or the real possibility that he might have awkwardly retired if he felt he wasn't be treated properly in contract negotiations.

RSB--I'm 100 percent certain that if he'd have asked to only do home games the team would have been fine with it. But the guy died quite literally doing what he loved, which is something pretty special.

timr: I realize that second-guessing something like this is much different than second-guessing something that happens in a baseball game. Maybe I'm out of line. I just hadn't heard anyone address this, and after hearing so many people say how bad Kalas looked...I don't know. I know it's seen as an honor to die in the booth, but it probably didn't have to happen that way.

Simply amazed at all of the goodwill and utterly positive stories coming out about Kalas. Very rarely does all of the positive sentiment that comes when someone passes away actually match that person's deeds and interactions with others during their life. This does seem like one of those special times.

I haven't cried so hard in quite some time. I keep thinking I'll be able to turn on the next Phils broadcast and hear his voice. It's just like losing a family member.

The song rings true when they sing "you don't know what you got til it's gone" and I still can't bring myself to comprehend that Harry Kalas, the man who brought me up on baseball, will never call another pitch again. Miss him dearly already. His work will never be duplicated.

Jayson Stark put it very well when he said "the void that is left in the hearts of Phillies fans today is unimaginable." I keep thinking he will be there the next time the Fightins take the field. Your mind just becomes so used to having that voice in your living room every night from April to September and without it, baseball just won't be the same.

He will be missed more than anyone will ever be able to put into words....RIP Harry. I miss you already and thank you for all of the memories you gave me and the rest of this city.

I hadn't realized that last Fall's Phillies World Series win -- and not the team's 1980 World Championship -- was the first that had Harry Kalas called in the broadcast booth.

"Oddly, Mr. Kalas did not make the call when, in their 97th year, the 1980 Phillies won the franchise's first World Series championship. At the time, Major League Baseball did not permit local broadcasts of those games."

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20090414_Phillies_icon_Harry_Kalas_dies.html?viewAll=y

The insights and personal memories above in this thread -- and the one before it - are the most moving examples of sports writing I have ever read.

Yo, new thread

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