Over the past few months, I have aspired to write an article based on the relationship between the fans and their favorite teams' broadcasters. I longed to make a connection between my family and Phillies' broadcaster Harry Kalas.
Harry Kalas passed away today at age 73. I've read plenty of articles (all containing the same info) about his passing and it's yet to sink in. I keep expecting to hear an "OUTTA HERE!" after a Chase Utley home run or a "Good Night" at the conclusion of the games.
Instead of writing a summary of fans and broadcasters, I want to make this a bit more personal.
Baseball is, and will always be, my first true love. I was a decent baseball player growing up and was able to start on my high school freshman team, playing on various travel teams. I was never the best on the team, as I would be easily flustered after striking out or making an error.
Still, nothing beat putting the high socks on or shopping for a new bat. I would have to quit baseball after my sophomore year as I started to become more successful in cross country and track.
But one thing that's always connected me with the baseball world was the Philadelphia Phillies. I have a nice group of friends that I get to go to Phillies (or their minor league affiliates, the Lakewood Blueclaws) games, or just go over to one of their houses to watch the game.
We send bulk text messages to each other when something major happens (whether it be shouting WORLD bleepin' CHAMPIONS or Lou Marson being called up) and eagerly await the next game.
We've seen many good players such as Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, Curt Schilling, Pat Burrell, Jim Thome, and Aaron Rowand leave town.
We've complained about the liabilities that were Adam Eaton, Jose Mesa, Antonio Alfonseca, Geoff Jenkins, Terry Adams, and Jeff Brantley. There were memorable managers and head-scratching trades that always resulted in getting stalwarts such as...Travis Lee?
But Harry Kalas was always there. If there was a rain delay, we'd hear him narrate a Phillies program. If there was a home run or big play, we'd hear him exclaim just like we would. We heard that calming baritone of his and imagined warmer weather.
My parents and I would talk about how great it would be to relax on the couch and hear Harry the K broadcast today's game. He was the remaining constant of the team.
As much as I loved seeing the champions on ESPN on Opening Night, it wasn't the same without hearing Harry Kalas' voice. I was so excited when the first game with the local crew was aired because it was officially baseball season.
Sadly, it lasted just a week. I will never stop watching the Phillies' games, but the magic of the team will be slightly less bright. Whenever Chase Utley makes a big play, there will be no more "Chase Utley, YOU ARE THE MAN!" from the broadcast booth.
Ryan Howard will be affectionately called "the big man," but it won't be the same. Even hearing him chuckle on a goofy play or reminiscing about Richie "Whitey" Ashburn will be missed.
I'll miss Harry Kalas. It still saddens me to think that just yesterday I heard him broadcasting. The rapid chain of events is still shocking.
One moment ESPN is announcing that he was taken to a local hospital after being found unconscious in the broadcast booth, the next I'm refreshing Google News for updates until I saw the headline announcing his passing. The numerous video montages showing him will give you a heavy heart.
Harry the K, you were a great broadcaster. I'm going to the game on April 21st against the Brewers, and will firmly think of your faithful home run call if one is hit.