Monday, April 13, 2009

The FDH New York Bureau remembers Harry Kalas

By Steve Cirvello (posted by Rick Morris)

I have been covering Phillies games since 2004 when they moved into their new Stadium. During that time, I have met and talked with everyone on their announcing team. Just last Wednesday, I was at the game where the Phillies received their 2008 World Series rings. Guess who threw out the first pitch that day? Harry Kalas. To a standing ovation. (It almost reached the plate.)

I used to run into Harry in the Press Box before and during the games when he used to shuttle back and forth between the Phillies' TV and Radio booths (he still called innings on radio). When I saw him last week, I went up to him and congratulated him on last season and shook his hand, and he was wearing his ring. One of my goals was to eventually try to get him to come on The FDH Lounge like I was able to do with Jim Jackson and Tom "The Phillie Phanatic" Burgoyne, even Jayson Stark, with other members of the announce team 'on deck' for us during the season as their schedule permits.

There is a stairwell right off the Press Box where Harry used to smoke before games and during whatever inning he had off that day. If I happened to run into him in there, I would always stay and talk with him for a few minutes or so about the team and things that had happened on the field. I remember one time when the movie'Leatherheads' had come out, Harry had done the voiceover for the movie preview trailer and commercial. I asked him, "So Harry, what's George Clooney really like?" He took a puff and responded, "Ha, Ha, Ha.......LEATHERHEADS!!!!" He did it right there in front of me and I totally marked out for it. I'll always remember that one.

As someone who recently lost his mother to lung cancer, hearing this news was very disappointing to me. In life, you just get used to seeing some people in certain settings. Everytime I walk in my mom's house, it makes me sad that I'll no longer be able to just say hello to her anymore, and the void in my life is huge from that. Now, not seeing Harry Kalas walking through that Press Box anymore will be really bizarre. I'm glad I got to meet him and talk with him, and that he was willing to chat baseball with some young mark like me. To me, he WAS The Phillies.

I would also like to mention that I always enjoyed his voiceover work with HBO's Inside The NFL Highlight Show. He was great. At some point this year, I will bring at least one member of the Phillies family on The FDH Lounge to talk about and remember Harry Kalas. You can count on that. Thanks for the memories, Harry, and I'm glad you went out a World Series Champion.

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