Monday, April 13, 2009

Harry Kalas Passed Away

Harry Kalas passed away today at the age of 73.

One of the great things about being a sports fan nowadays is how much of it you can get. Back in the day, you maybe got to see one or two games a week. With MLB Extra Innings and the other sports packages, you can see pretty much every game that is being played for the entire season.

A great thing about that is people all over this country can share what regional fans covet. We all can watch and listen to Vin Scully call a Dodger game. I got to hear Chick Hearn do Laker games. And I got to hear Harry Kalas do Phillies games.

He could never mean as much to me as he does to the fans in Philadelphia. He was loved by them, the players and his contemporaries. The first time I heard him call a Phillies game was when Keith Olbermann used to impersonate him during the Phillies highlights. I'd be bent if anyone else did those clips.

That voice. That voice. That voice was golden. Slow, deliberate and deep, that voice didn't need catchphrases (though "Outta here" turned into one). It never sounded panicky. Most announcers call home runs as if they were doing an auction. Mr. Kalas' voice just gave you that easy "long fly ball and it's outta here"

So when I got the MLB Extra Innings package from DirecTV many moons ago, I actually made a point to watch some Phillies games just so I can hear him call it.

I'm more of a football guy, so I will really miss Mr. Kalas during the NFL season. He would do many NFL Films segments, including the highlight packages on HBO/Showtime's Inside the NFL. He also was the voice for those Campbell's soup commercials and Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl.

To the fans in Philly, my heart goes out to you.

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