A little of my childhood died today with Harry Kalas

kalas_275x235Today the Philadelphia Phillies lost one of the true icons of not just this city, but from within the game of baseball. Harry Kalas was the voice of baseball in my youth – he and Richie Ashburn brought both radio and TV to games to millions of fans for decades. It never seemed the same when Ashburn died in 1997, and now that last tie between my childhood and today is gone.

I played a lot of baseball as a kid, and I dreamed of one day playing for my beloved Phillies. I pretended to hit home runs in the backyard and would mimic Kalas’ “Outta Here” home run call as I did it. For me, I couldn’t watch every game – I often listened on my little Radio Shack AM radio. The game is so different these days. With so many mediums for tracking sports, as well as so many distractions, the day of the old school broadcaster that became the image of a team, is a thing of the past. I feel lucky that I was able to enjoy the game through Harry for so many years.

Last week I went to go see the Phillies get their World Series rings on a crisp cool Wednesday day game. Harry the K through out the first pitch and then Kristen and I got a bite to eat at the restaurant in left field that bears Harry’s name. The Phillies eventually fell behind 10-2 by the seventh inning, at which point we left the game. The Phillies eventually came back and won that game. Harry Kalas had to watch a lot of bad games in his years, and he couldn’t leave.

I am so happy that Harry had a chance to call a World Series victory and see his Phillies win. Within hours of the victory, I received a number of links to Harry’s call of the last pitch of that game because everyone knew, it’s not a big game in Philadelphia without hearing Harry’s call. My heart is heavy today and I honestly shed a tear for Harry.

Rest in Peace Harry – Philadelphia will miss you.

Other tributes from around the web:

Phinally!

The cork on a 25 year-old bottle of champagne was just popped.

I remember the last time the Phillies won. I was 12 years old, watching the game on the edge of my parents bed. My dad, a nurse, had to work 11 pm to 7 am – and waited as long as he could, but missed the end. I’m sure he heard the commotion on the way to work. Tonight he was the first person I called. Just as it was 28 years ago, he was on his way to work, and waited as long as he could. This time he was able to see that last pitch.

With one pitch, the ghosts of over 100 seasons were exised. The weight that the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers has just been lifted and now they can just play. And I feel so happy for these guys.

Bob Boone, Pete Rose, Manny Trillo, Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride, Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw, Lonnie Smith, Keith Moreland, Marty Bystrom, Bob Walk, Dick Ruthven, Del Unser, Greg Gross…

Those were the guys I remember from the 1980 Phillies. I’ll remember them forever. They come around to Philadelphia, they don’t buy a drink, we all remember them as they were 28 years ago. These guys now have that. Remembered forever.

Thank you every much for making a not old, but not young man so happy. And tomorrow I get to remember how this will make the Mets fans feel.

Philly riverlink sucks

I will never ever again take the ferry to Camden to see a show. I’ve waited over an hour and just finally got on a ferry. There’s only on ferry, so if you can’t get on one because it’s full, then you need to wait 30 plus minutes for the next one. This is what they call express service. I needed to allot at least two hours to get to the show on time.

And there are still people who are probably going to miss this one.

Never again. Do not take the riverlink ferry if you don’t have hours to kill.

Break up the Phillies

Everyone wants to talk about Rollins’ being benched yesterday and while I’ll get to that, I think everyone is ignoring the other more concerning issues with this team.   Here’s what I’d discuss:

  • Charlie Manuel should be benched – In the 8th inning yesterday, the Phils had the bases loaded and two outs with Jason Werth facing Oliver Perez.   The Mets bring in Aaron Heilman a side-winding righty;   Manuel had 3 left-handed bats on the bench – Rollins (reigning MVP), Greg Dobbs (leading pinch-hitter in the majors), and Geoff Jenkins.   All three remained on the bench and watched Werth fly out.   I don’t care what the reasoning, that roles is for Dobbs, he’s supposed to be in in that situation no matter what.
  • Chase Utley and Ryan Howard go a combined 2 for 24.   Take away the 9th inning in the first game of the Mets series and the Phillies have scored 10 runs in the past 5 games.   I am so tired of seeing easy runs die at 3rd base.       I don’t care what the talent is, this team can’t hit anything other than a home run – no way to get to the playoffs like that.
  • Lost in this is how well Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, and Kyle Kendrick are pitching.   I’m afraid that when the hitters finally come around, the pitching will be in a rut.

Now the Rollins’ situation.   Totally mishandled by the Phillies.   Alright, yes he was late and deserved to be punished. You don’t do it in that situation in that game.   Bench him today.   Fine him.   That does two things – it keeps the issue in the clubhouse and not in the press and it keeps him in the game.   Everyone wants to say you treat MVPs like everyone else – BULLSHIT.   Yes Jimmy let the team down yesterday, but all Uncle Charlie did yesterday was cut off his nose to spite his face.   If this is the playoffs, you think Charlie benches him?   If he does, I’ll rub my face in Howard Eskin’s greasy mane.

I don’t know what you can do to fix this.   Rollins, Utley, and Howard hitting would fix a lot of things, but there’s nothing you can do to get that done.   Maybe they need to start playing for one run all the time – bunting, squeezes, hit and run (when have you seen Charlie do that)?   It’s time to put the players in situations where they don’t have to think – they just do.