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Monday, April 13, 2009

Harry Kalas- RIP

When I was a kid I loved watching the Phillies with my dad. I was a fan of the game, of the team, of my dad. All games were watched in the same way: sports section of the newspaper spread before him with a makeshift score grid at its top, the television on mute, and the little transistor radio, antenna sticking up, tucked at his side. I always asked why he did this and his answer was always the same "You gotta listen to Harry Kalas!". I had no idea then, actually not until recently did I know, that most households throughout Philly were doing the same thing. I admit it, I did not get it.

Last October when the Phillies won the World Series, despite the half second delay from tv to radio, Todd insisted we watch as my father does; TV muted and radio on, because he said "we have to hear Harry's call when we are the World Champions!". I admit it, I only partially got it.

Today, Harry Kalas passed away! He did so just hours before the first pitch between the Phillies and the Nationals at Washington's home opener. He did so in the broadcasting booth where he would have called the game, should have called the game. His passing, and his life, touched many hearts in Philadelphia, touched many hearts worldwide. Yesterday the Phillies won in a come from behind victory with a Chase Utley homer to tie it and a Matt Stairs homerun to give them a lead. No one knew at the time that this would be Harry's final game, final victory, final "outta here!"

It is all a little eerie. The Phillies finally won a World Series, they had just received their rings a few days ago. Harry stuck around long enough for that prize yet not nearly long enough for life.

My boys won't grow up hearing the voice of Harry the K. Another sportscaster, filling in for but never replacing HK, will be the name and voice that colors the Phillies games they listen to. For them, it will be no different and this new guy may even become beloved. I am sure, however, that their father and grandfather will make sure they know, understand better than their mother, that no one calls a game like Harry Kalas.

For the record here is Harry's call as the Phillies became the 2008 World Champions:

For those of us who lived it, it will never get old, and for my boys it will surely be a classic!

Here is the link to ESPN's tribute:

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