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  1. #21
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    I actually started a Facebook group encouraging fans to petition the Phils to rename Citizen Bank Way to Kalas Blvd.

    I think that's the level of tribute Harry warranted.
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  3. #22
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    I had a free period and decided to cope with my feelings by writing a letter to Harry. It actually gave me a lot of closure.

    Dear Harry Kalas,
    I knew that you were getting up in years, and that your health had been ailing. I knew that I had to start preparing myself soon for the fact that your role in Phillies broadcasting might start to become less and less over the next few seasons, and that inevitably, one day, you would no longer be “our voice.” However, I did not expect that day to come on April 13, 2009, a little over an hour before an actual game, when you had just called a stellar one the night before.

    I was going along on my merry way, and feeling rather good about what I had accomplished on my last day off for Easter break, when I first I first saw the breaking news that you had been rushed to the hospital after passing out in the booth. Maybe it was the good mood I was in, but I didn’t think too much of it. As a matter of fact, I selfishly wanted you to hurry up and get better THAT DAY so that I didn’t have to listen to Wheels and T-Mac drone on for a whole game. Little did I know that I would indeed be listening to them, but it would be due to your passing, not just a minor blip that would land you in the hospital for a few days. Shortly after the original report, an additional sentence was added, a brief quote from David Montgomery that said “I think it’s serious.” All of the sudden I got nervous. I waited with baited breath as I listened to 610 WIP and constantly refreshed Philly.com for news of your health. Then it happened.

    Anthony Gargano, with a heavy voice announced that he had bad news. Before he even got the rest of it out, I gasped audibly and burst into tears. I began sobbing uncontrollably. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking. It was if I had just been told that my own grandfather had passed away. Here I was, hysterical over the passing of a man whom I had never had the pleasure to meet, yet somehow felt like family. A man whose voice resonated in the background of my life for 6 months out of every year since my birth in 1985. The man whom my brother imitated as he wore his Mike Schmidt outfit and ran around the bases in our backyard as a child. The man whose call I would hear over and over again as I would push the button on my brother’s plaque commemorating Mike Schmidt’s 500th home run: “"Swing and a long drive! There it is! No. 500! The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!” It mesmerized me. You were the soundtrack to car rides in the summer. You were on in the background of the hospital room when I would visit my grandfather during his illness. The voice I fell asleep to while I struggled to stay up and watch the West Coast games. Just the other day, on Easter Sunday, I wasn’t feeling so great and dozed off on the couch watching the game. I was awakened twice by your excited home run calls, one for Chase Utley and one for Matt Stairs. And now I will never be awoken by your live calls again. All of your calls now will have to live on through tape and our own memories.

    The thing I will miss about you most is that you really understood how to let the game breathe. I don’t think many modern day broadcasters “get” that. Chris Wheeler especially. Sometimes you just have to be quiet, and let the game and the crowd speak for itself.

    I will miss everything from the great one liners like “Chase Utley, you are the man!” to your common phrases “Outta here!” and “Swing and miss, struck eeemmmm’ ouuuttt!” to the simple everyday calls “No runs, hits errors” “Just misses the inside corner” etc. I will miss your frustration occasionally coming through during the myriad of losing seasons and missed opportunities that you had to call throughout the years. Even though we were all miserable, your voice seemed to make it a bit more bearable. I will miss you breaking out in a rousing rendition of “High Hopes” whenever you felt the occasion called for it. I will miss you singing along to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and throwing peanuts out to the fans. I will miss my dad bringing his walkman to the games so that he could still hear the broadcast. I will miss coming home from a game and turning the radio on right away to hear how you called it on the days when we didn’t have a headset. I will miss trying to find you in the press box with my binoculars. I will miss hearing your voice on Campbell’s soup commercials, and narrating highlight reels for NFL films. But most of all, I will simply miss you being a part of my life.

    The Phillies were the first sports team I ever fell in love with, and in the past few years the game of baseball itself has risen to the top of my list to the point where I’ve begun to eat, sleep, and breathe it. To me, you ARE baseball. I’m just not sure how it will ever be the same without you behind the microphone. I can only thank God that he let us keep you long enough to finally get to hear call a World Series Championship for the Phillies live.
    "One strike away, nothing-and-two the count to Hinske. Fans on their feet, rally towels are being waved.... Brad Lidge stretches ... the 0-2 pitch ... swing and a miss! Struck him out! ... The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again and stays perfect for the 2008 season, 48-for-48 in save opportunities and let the city celebrate!”

    You’re gone now. “Hard to believe, Harry.” I just know you and Whitey are living it up together in that big baseball diamond in the sky. Rest In Peace. We love you.
    Sincerely,
    Me
    Last edited by Ian; 05-06-2009 at 12:01 PM. Reason: OP's Request
    ~M.~

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  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I actually started a Facebook group encouraging fans to petition the Phils to rename Citizen Bank Way to Kalas Blvd.

    I think that's the level of tribute Harry warranted.
    I like that idea. Not sure if it's made it's way to Facebook yet, but there's also a movement to make High Hopes the 7th inning stretch song. I think Harry would love that.
    ~M.~

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    Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.

  5. #24
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    Unhappy

    Jesus, Maryanne ... just when I was feeling a bit better I read your letter and it got me going all over again.

    I think what touched me the most about it was that I could have written it myself.

    You should send that somewhere ... to the Phils or Harry's loved ones or something ... it's that perfect ...
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  6. #25
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    I think I can finally put down my thoughts without uncontrollably sobbing. Managed to get through the day by having the game on in my office with the sound off, as I could not handle hearing a game without Harry just yet. I get into my car to drive home and listen to the end of the game on the radio. I hear Lidge give up the 2 run homer, shortening the lead to 1 run. I said a silent prayer that I know Lidge's streak will end, God, just don't let it be today. Lidge pulled it together and they won, but you could hear how hard the game was for the radio announcers, especially Larry Andersen. As they were signing off, Scott Franzke out of habit started to say "this is Scott Franzke and for Larry Andersen and " when he stopped as he was about to say Harry Kalas, as he would for any other game. His voice broke, not knowing what to say. Larry Andersen finished it, saying "and Harry Kalas" which is when I shed the first tears.

    Later last night, I was flipping between the Comcast tribute and the Rays game on my MLB Extra Innings package (for those who do not know, Harry's oldest son is the pre and post game host for the Rays). Of course, Todd was not there and the Rays' broadcasters explained why and offered their own tribute. Then the game started. As most of you know, the Rays blew out the Yankees, but I was watching the Pat Burrell at bats. He was very somber and you saw the Rays players saying things of encouragement to him. Well, I was watching when Pat hit is first non-Phillies home run and he ran with his head down, no smile. All I could think was Harry making the call of this home run and then I really started to cry.
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  7. #26
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    Even for someone like me who was a partial Phillies fan but who spent their entire life in the Philly area, Harry Kalas was the soundtrack of the summer for me.

    To paraphrase Jayson Stark: "it (Harry's voice) has been such a constant in all our lives for as long as most of us can remember."
    Very true indeed.
    Bern

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  8. #27
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
    I think I can finally put down my thoughts without uncontrollably sobbing. Managed to get through the day by having the game on in my office with the sound off, as I could not handle hearing a game without Harry just yet. I get into my car to drive home and listen to the end of the game on the radio. I hear Lidge give up the 2 run homer, shortening the lead to 1 run. I said a silent prayer that I know Lidge's streak will end, God, just don't let it be today. Lidge pulled it together and they won, but you could hear how hard the game was for the radio announcers, especially Larry Andersen. As they were signing off, Scott Franzke out of habit started to say "this is Scott Franzke and for Larry Andersen and " when he stopped as he was about to say Harry Kalas, as he would for any other game. His voice broke, not knowing what to say. Larry Andersen finished it, saying "and Harry Kalas" which is when I shed the first tears.

    Later last night, I was flipping between the Comcast tribute and the Rays game on my MLB Extra Innings package (for those who do not know, Harry's oldest son is the pre and post game host for the Rays). Of course, Todd was not there and the Rays' broadcasters explained why and offered their own tribute. Then the game started. As most of you know, the Rays blew out the Yankees, but I was watching the Pat Burrell at bats. He was very somber and you saw the Rays players saying things of encouragement to him. Well, I was watching when Pat hit is first non-Phillies home run and he ran with his head down, no smile. All I could think was Harry making the call of this home run and then I really started to cry.
    I'm virtually certain that's what was going through Pat's mind, as well.

    Honestly, after seeing Pat's demeanor at the ring ceremony game the other day, I really don't think he's doing all that well with the transition. He seemed pretty melancholy. I'm sure this didn't help things.
    Ian ºOº
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  9. #28
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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Christine, that was wonderful. As far as Pat... yea, I think it really kills him not to be here. I attended Pat Burrell night (First pre-season game) and the ring ceremony. He teared up at both. He got crazy ovations. It's funny, because one of my favorite recent Kalas calls came last season. It was April, and they were into extra innings. (Pat had an amazing start last year, if you remember). Burrell hit a game winning walk off home run. The call went something like "Pat Burrell! Pa-hat Burr-urr-url! Pat Burrell with a game-winning, ninth-inning home run!" Even though it wasn't the 9th inning, that's ok. Harry was allowed to make mistakes. I have tickets for friday and saturday's games and I'm kinda glad... I just am not ready to listen to games without him, knowing that he's not just away for a few days... he'll never be back again.
    ~M.~

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    11 Trips to WDW
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  10. #29
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    Unhappy

    You know I was thinking ... not that there's really ever a "good" way to go, but if you could write an ideal script for Harry's exit I'm not sure you could do a better job than the way it went down.

    He was coming off calling his first World Series Championship for the Phils in his 39 year career ... he had just thrown out the first pitch at his last home game (a game I attended, I might add) and received his World Series ring ... and he passed away in the booth doing what he loved to do.

    I'm just trying to draw some solace from the fact that, unlike some others who have gone before him, Harry kinda went out on top.
    Ian ºOº
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  11. #30
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    Ian, I agree with your sentiment totally, but I do have to mention that Harry did not actually receive his ring on that day. Only the players did. Broadcasters and everyone else aren't due to get theirs until June, I read. Either they expedite his so he can be buried with it, or just give it to the family.
    ~M.~

    All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
    11 Trips to WDW
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    Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.

  12. #31
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    From the Philadelphia newspaper website today:

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009
    Phillies announce plans for Harry tribute
    The Phillies have announced a series of tributes to Harry Kalas for Friday night and also for the rest of the season.

    Fans are urged to arrive early for the 7:05 p.m. start against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park.

    According to a Phillies press release, here is what the team has planned:

    * The television booth in which Harry broadcast since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004 will be named the Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth, “That ball’s outta here!” A plaque will be hung to officially name the booth. The neighboring radio booth is named the Richie (“Whitey”) Ashburn Broadcast Booth, “This game’s easy, Harry.”


    * The ceremonial first ball will be thrown by Harry’s three sons, Todd, Brad and Kane.


    * Prior to the National Anthem, to be sung by Harry’s son Kane, there will be a moment of silence.


    * All fans will receive an 8”x10” color photograph of Harry.


    * Harry’s signature will be displayed on the field during the seven-game homestand beginning on Friday.


    * Also for the seven games, a black drape will appear in front of the Phillies radio and TV booths and the Phillies flag in Ashburn Alley will be hung at half-mast.


    * A video of Harry’s career will be aired on PhanaVision.


    * During the seventh-inning stretch, a video of Harry singing “High Hopes” will be shown on PhanaVision. Fans will be encouraged to join in.


    Other acknowledgements include:



    * During the first half-inning of the game televised by Comcast Network Philadelphia (formerly CN8), there will be no announcer commentary.


    * Throughout the remainder of the season, a billboard honoring Harry will be displayed on the outfield wall.


    * As previously announced, an HK patch will be worn on Phillies uniforms this season.


    * Throughout the 2009 season, following every Phillies home run, Harry’s legendary “Outta Here!” home run call will be played over the PA system as the Liberty Bell lights up.


    All great tributes, in my opinion. I love the "Outta Here!" after each Phillies home run and I think they should make that a permanent part of every game.
    -Phil-

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  13. #32
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    Default Random Thoughts

    Don't know if any of you saw the press conference Todd Kalas had yesterday on behalf of the Kalas family(Todd was pretty classy, which shows the apple doesn't fall far from the tree). From some of the things Todd said, I get the feeling the Harry knew he was dying and just did not want to say anything to his kids or the organization.

    Co-worker was at the Sixers game last night and the Sixers did a nice tribute. They had a moment of silence then the lights went out and they played a montage of Harry Kalas calls. Nicely done, especially as he had no connection to the Sixers.

    Memorial service at the ballpark on Saturday at 1:00 (his funeral will be private early next week). Gates open at 8:00 AM. I guarantee the line to get in will be blocks long. Hope that Comcast Sportsnet shows it on TV.
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  14. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by PirateLover View Post
    Ian, I agree with your sentiment totally, but I do have to mention that Harry did not actually receive his ring on that day. Only the players did. Broadcasters and everyone else aren't due to get theirs until June, I read. Either they expedite his so he can be buried with it, or just give it to the family.
    Huh ... I swore I saw them laying out the rings for some of the broadcasters and FO types, but maybe I'm wrong. I missed the very, very first part of the ceremony (watched it on T.V. from McFadden's). I just assumed he had gotten it there.

    On another topic ... I had also forgotten that he got to call the World Series opposite his son last year. That just adds to it, IMO.

    Christine, I agree with you about what Todd said. I definitely got the feeling that Harry knew his time was limited. He made that reference about them going to the OTB during spring training and Harry leaving early making a comment to the effect that "he'd never be back there again."
    Ian ºOº
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  15. #34
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    You all did a wonderful job of capturing what Harry Kalas meant, and will always mean to us.

    Just this past week I told my wife how happy I was to go back to work evenings, as one of my favorite things to do was listen to Harry on the drive home...IMHO, baseball is best enjoyed either live, or on radio.

    At first, I thought I'd never have that pleasure again..until I realized one of the sponsers of Phillies Baseball is the Fudge Kitchen candy store all along the Jersey Shore..and who else but Harry as spokesman, in that familar voice...at the end of the ad, he says.."The Fudge Kitchen, simply the best..." I will forever say...Harry Kalas, simply the best.

    You can best believe Whitey Ashburn was holding the door to the broadcast booth open up above when he heard the news..and probably greeted Harry with.."What took you so long?!" Harry lost a little piece of himself when Whitey passed..it does bring a smile to my face to know they're behind the mike once again, passing out birthday greetings over the Delaware Valley!!

    I can't wait until I leave work Friday night, just so I can hear the Fudge Kitchen ad!!!

    HK will be sorely missed, never forgotten, and fondly remembered for being such an intergral part of our summers, and a couple of very special falls in 80 and '08..

    RIP, H of K!!
    Jerry

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  16. #35
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    Yea, during the ceremony they gave rings to Monty, Gillick, and the coaches and trainers, but no broadcasters. They said on CSN that he did not receive his ring.

    The Phillies announced more tributes to departed broadcaster Harry Kalas set for Friday night when the team returns to Citizens Bank Park after a six-game road trip. Kalas died Monday in Washington, D.C. while preparing for the game between the Phillies and Nationals.

    The tributes for Friday are as follows:

    • The television booth in Citizens Bank Park will be named the Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth, “That ball’s outta here!” A plaque will be hung to officially name the booth. The neighboring radio booth is named the Richie (“Whitey”) Ashburn Broadcast Booth, “This game’s easy, Harry.”

    • The ceremonial first ball will be thrown by Harry’s three sons, Todd, Brad and Kane.

    • Prior to the National Anthem, to be sung by Harry’s son Kane, there will be a moment of silence.

    • All fans will receive an 8”x10” color photograph of Harry.

    • Harry’s signature will be displayed on the field during the seven-game homestand beginning on Friday.

    • For the entirety of the seven-game homestand, a black drape will appear in front of the Phillies radio and TV booths and the Phillies flag in Ashburn Alley will be hung at half-mast.

    • A video of Harry’s career will be aired on PhanaVision.

    • During the seventh-inning stretch, a video of Harry singing “High Hopes” will be shown on PhanaVision.

    Additionally, the first half inning of Friday's telecast on the Comcast Network, there will be no announcer commentary.

    Also, for the rest of the season a billboard honoring Harry will be displayed on the outfield wall, and the legendary, "Outta Here!" home run call will be played over the PA system whenever a Phillie hits a home run.

    On Saturday, a memorial tribute will be held at Citizens Bank Park.

    An opportunity to pay respects to the Hall of Fame broadcaster will be given on a first come, first served basis to as many fans as possible from 8 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. At that time, all fans in attendance will be directed to seats for an on-field tribute that will begin at 1 p.m.

    Additional information will be made public as details are finalized.

    Funeral services and burial will be private and held early next week.
    ~M.~

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    11 Trips to WDW
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  17. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by PirateLover View Post
    Also, for the rest of the season a billboard honoring Harry will be displayed on the outfield wall, and the legendary, "Outta Here!" home run call will be played over the PA system whenever a Phillie hits a home run.
    That's awesome!

    I'd still love to see them incorporate "High Hopes" as a full-time part of their home games. Either as an 8th inning tradition (like Sweet Caroline for the Sox) or maybe after a win or something.
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    I hope everyone has a chance to come down to the memorial service. It is being run perfectly. Got here around 9 and paid our respects and had seats in about 45 mins. Free tastykakes, coffee, donuts. Lots of people leaving so only 3 sections of stadium filled up so far. Davod Montgomery and Bill Giles shook everyones hand at the gate. Harry's casket is fittingly white. The whole thing is just first class.
    ~M.~

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  19. #38
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    Unhappy

    I wish we could, Maryanne, but we're going to the game tonight and can't head down now for the memorial, head back home, then head down a couple hours later for the game.

    I wish we could go, but I do plan on watching it on T.V.

    Man, I'm sad today ... It still hurts. It really does. I just finished watching the Comcast video tribute to Harry on You Tube (for like the 1,000th time) and once again I'm moved to tears. I still can't believe he's gone ..........
    Ian ºOº
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  20. #39
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    Unhappy

    Awesome ... this is awesome ... they're using the soundtrack from Field of Dreams (Harry's favorite sports film of all time) for this presentation ...

    I'm just STREAMING with tears ... Bridge Over Troubled Water ... beautiful ...
    Ian ºOº
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  21. #40
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    I hope they didn't show me on TV because I was a sobbing mess. Truly touching moment. Passing the coffin along with Bridge over Troubled Water playing was something I'll never forget. And what beautiful tributes. I'll be at the game tonight as well, part of my season ticket package.
    ~M.~

    All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
    11 Trips to WDW
    1 Trip to Disneyland
    Many more to come
    Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.

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