I just wanted to let a few hours to pass for the news to settle in before I posted this. A few footnotes for Harry the K.
Harry Kalas' last game was last night at Coors Field, but the irony is much more than that. The fianl score of that game was 7-5 Phillies. Matt Stairs had hit a game-winning 2-run homerun in the top of the 9th after Chase Utley hit a 2-run homerun to tie the game. There's a reason that that sounds familiar. Last year in the NLCS, the Phils were trailing 5-3 against the Dodgers in game 4 of the NLCS. In the top of the 7th inning, Victorino hit a game tying 2-run homerun. And then inexplicably, Matt Stairs delievered a game-winning 2-run homerun in the top of the 7th. It is that homerun that pretty much every Phillies fan will tell you that that was when they knew the Phillies were going to win the World Series. It was at that point that the Phillies truly started believing in themselves that they could win the World Series. That was the defining moment for the Phillies World Series run. And Harry the K's last game was eerily similar to that Game 4. Very similar.
Harry Kalas has without a doubt died a happy man. Not only is he now with his longtime partner and good friend Richie Ashburn in heaven, but in what is now known as the last months of his life, called a World Series championship. Something that he did not do in 1980 despite being the Phillies announcer then because at the time local announcers were banned from calling games. That ban was lifted 3 years later. And to appease Phillies fans, Harry and Richie recorded after the game commentary of that Series clinching game from the Vet, but obviously it was not the same. That is why the 08 Series is so special. Finally, after years and years and years of work with the Phils, he finally got to do a live World Series call for the Phillies.
Tom McCarthy has presumably taken over the role of Phillies PbP man. He is currently doing the game on CSN Philly with Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews. McCarthy worked for the Phillies as radio PbP man for a few years in the early 2000s before leaving to go to the Mets. He rejoined the Phillies last year and subsequently called the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings of the games on TV while Harry the K did those innings on radio. So the transition is one of a natural one, but alas, as having worked with the Mets for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, he is not the most popular man in Philadelphia. Personally, I think he is fine, he's not great like Harry the K was, but there are worse options out there, I guess.
For those that think that this game should not be played today, even if this was a home game for the Phils, are mistaken. Harry Kalas would want them to play on.
Not really a footnote, but just relating the story of what happened according to Tom McCarthy who just told it as I am typing this, Kalas had passed out in the booth as we all know. Rob Brooks, who works for CSN Philly (I forget the exact position he has) applied CPR. EMTs came as fast as they could and they took Harry the K to George Washington University hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Just like the game after the Phils learned of the passing of Richie Ashburn, the Phillies won by 1 today against the Nationals. Only the game after the death of Ashburn was 1-0, this one in Nationals Park was 9-8.
We will all miss you, Harry Kalas. You were a true legend of the Phillies, broadcasting, and baseball as a whole and you will never, ever be forgotten. Rest In Peace, Harry the K, you are forever in the hearts of every Phillies fan.