Monday, April 13, 2009

Outta Here

Unfortunately, this is the second time in less than a week, when I feel compelled to go off-topic, and write about the death of a favorite broadcaster.

Harry Kalas died today at the age of 73 in Washington, DC, after collapsing in a broadcast booth at Nationals Stadium. He was in the midst of pre-game preparations, in his role as play-by-play announcer for baseball's World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Harry's voice defied description. Even if you've never heard Phillies' broadcasts, you may have encountered The Voice narrating video presentations ranging from NFL Films to Chunky Soup commercials. There are audio clips available all over the Web today, so you may want to search them out, and see what I mean.

I don't think there's any reason to feel sorry for Harry on this sad occasion. He got to spend 44 of his 73 years announcing major league baseball games. The end came while he was pursuing that vocation. And, in what turned out to be the last year of his life, he played master of ceremonies at the culmination of the World Series parade at Citizens Bank Park. But, for those of us left behind in the baseball world, the sad fact is that, like many a baseball at Veterans Stadium and C.B. Park since 1971, Harry is "outta here".

1 comment:

Terry L. Johnson said...

It has been a tough week for fans of baseball with the passing of Kalas and of Mark Fidrych.

I grew up listening to Ernie Harwell and cherish the memories of hearing his calls. I can place my precise location where I heard him interview Denny McClain after he won this 30th game. So, I know how embedded a voice can be in the life of a sports fan.

The death of Fidrych is something else alltogether. An actual "phenom" in 1976 and almost nothing thereafter. Injuries ended his career quickly and he was out of the bigs for good in 1980. Despite that fall from grace, he seemed to remain as good natured and cheerful a man post-baseball as he was during his brief career.

As I think of it, the Tigers also lost George Kell this year. George was a former player and television voice of "my" Tigers for quite a few years.

Damn. It has been a tough year and we ain't half done.