Apr. 12 was a sad day in Philadelphia. Everyone in Philadelphia loved Harry Kalas. It was hard not to. He had the best voice in baseball, ever. He was immensely talented.
When Kalas spoke, Philadelphia and baseball fans listened. He just knew how to captivate you. He made every game seem so freaking important. You would never know that the Phillies were 22 games out of first place, as they typically were.
Kalas made you feel like part of a family. He made you care. He made you want to play baseball or wiffleball growing up. He made you want to sit on the porch and gather around a radio, sipping on a few adult beverages and getting some fresh air.
Hitting a home run in little league or wiffleball was so important, just so I could scream to myself, “That ball’s outta here!” Man, I do a terrible impression of Harry the K, but it never got old.
He will be sorely missed.
Harry and Whitey Ashburn easily made the best announcing team of all time. I used to love sitting up late at night listening to those two announce a game. Even though the Phillies stunk, my brother and I listened to them as often as we could.
The people in Heaven just got a little luckier today. They get to see them teamed up again. Maybe they are calling a game against famed Cubs announcer Harry Caray.
It just won’t be the same without Harry Kalas.
He went out on top. He got to see (and finally freaking announce) the latest Phillies World Series in 2008. It was long overdue. The prime time event of a World Series needs and deserves the best announcer. Last year the event finally got one.
He got to see the World Series pennant raised into the air on Opening Day. Harry the K got to slide his 2008 World Series ring onto his finger last Wednesday. He got to walk into the booth one last time.
I am sure he would have wanted his family to be present, so he can say his goodbyes and see them one last time, but it was not to be. The way he left this earth was a fitting and appropriate way to pass on, if there ever is one. It probably would have been his second choice.
It was much deserved.
A city will be in mourning for a long time. The voice of the city has fallen silent.
I only had this feeling one other time in my life; it was when Mel Blanc passed away. I was in eighth grade. When Blanc died, it actually hurt. He was freaking awesome. He did the voices for Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, the Woody Woodpecker laugh, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety Bird, Pepe le Pew, Sylvester the Cat, and Porky Pig, just to name a few.
I essentially grew up with Bugs Bunny episodes tattooed on my brain. I loved them.
I loved the boxing episode when Bugs brings a slingshot into the ring, and hands it to the Crusher (the big boxer guy) and he holds it. I think the slingshot had an anvil or a bolder in it.
He knocks the Crusher silly.
The Crusher speaks like the guy from of Mice and Men. “Duh, which way did he go, George, which way did he go?”
Bugs was all about smashing people in the head with anvils. I have never seen an anvil, but I bet that would really hurt. Do they still make anvils? What are they used for?
Anyway, that is the biggest compliment I could give anyone. Harry Kalas is my modern day Mel Blanc. It truly is a sad day.
Kalas got to announce all 548 of Michael Jack Schmidt’s home runs. More importantly, Phillies fans got to hear him do it.
The Waltdog is outtaaaa heeeeere!