Silencing a City: Harry Kalas Gave Philly a Voice

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

In the coming weeks, the Internet will be flooded with tributes to the life of Harry Kalas. And rightly so.

People will say that he was a legend. That he was the last of a generation of broadcasters. Baseball people will talk of meeting him and his knowledge of the game. The head of NFL Films released a statement saying how much he enjoyed working with him. Ballplayers and co-workers loved him.

All of that is true.

But he was so much more than that.

I’m not qualified to write one of those articles. I can’t fill pages with tidbits I learned from conversations with Harry. I didn’t spend hours talking baseball with him.

I met him once. He was calling an exhibition game in Reading and I had seats in the grandstand right in front of the press box. Between innings, pop struck up a conversation with him.

I stood there in stunned silence. I was nine and didn’t know I had a chance to talk with greatness. All I knew was here was a man who had the same voice that lulled me to sleep so many nights from the transistor radio hidden under my pillow.

He was so much bigger than the game of baseball, but he never got in the way of watching a game.

Night after night I would drift to sleep listening to the crowd noise crackling over the radio. I would wake up to Harry’s It’s Outta Here!

How many announcers today could sit and not talk for thirty seconds while nothing was happening on the field?

That was Harry the K.

Yesterday afternoon, I was on the road when I got a call from my mom choking back tears. I may have been going 80, but time seemed to freeze when I heard those words. “Harry Kalas died.”

Legends don’t die. On Wednesday I saw him throw out the first pitch with my own eyes. Harry Kalas was supposed to live forever.

I was convinced one day someone was going to make a documentary of my life. And Harry Kalas was going to narrate it. He was supposed to still be spouting little nuggets of wisdom for another 50 years.

When I was young, I cried myself to sleep again and again as I listened to Harry describe how the Phillies blew tonight’s game.

For one night in October of 2008, I was a kid again. I put the last out on loop and fell asleep crying tears of joy and relief as Harry told me that all of it was really happening. I wouldn’t believe it until I heard that deep voice over the video of the pile of red and white on the Citizens Bank Park mound.

Last night, when I finally got back to school, I opened an mp3 of the top of the ninth of Game Five. A couple of us sat outside and listened to it and smoked a Phillie in memory of Harry.

And the Phillies are the 2008 World Champions of Baseball

And I shed a tear.

Thanks for being the soundtrack of my childhood, Harry. This city will miss you.


Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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