Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Harry Kalas 1936-2009

Harry Kalas, the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, is gone. More than just a baseball announcer, Harry was with me for my entire life as a baseball fan. Long nights laying in bed, listening to him call an extra-inning game. Drives in the car, breaking my curfew during high school. Long trips far away from home, getting that twinge of excitement when atmospheric conditions permitted me to pick up 1210 AM in some far-off place. It was just that voice, the measured call of every ball and strike, and the excitement of every "Long drive- watch that baby- Way OUTTA HERE!"

I guess I just figured he'd be there forever.

He was with me more than some of my own family. Every night for 6 months out of the year, we lived and died with Harry the K. We shared his enthusiasm for the game through its ups and downs. We took him with us into our homes, our cars, our lives. He was always there- that voice, that personality, that genuine love for the game. He was baseball; he was the Philadelphia fan. And now the voice is silent.

I think I've cried more in the past 24 hours than I did when my own grandmother passed away. And the reason is simple. More than anyone else outside my family, Harry Kalas was always there. He was always a part of my life, from a kid poring over the stats in the daily paper to a parent finally celebrating a World Series Championship last fall. The baseball game went on and it will still go on. But it will never be the same without Harry Kalas.