Monday, April 13, 2009

RIP Harry Kalas

Harry Kalas, the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for the last 38 years, passed away unexpectedly today – actually dying in the broadcast booth before the game. I feel like I’ve known him my entire life.

I grew up with him. Heard his voice every baseball season for the past 30 years. He was the best announcer to ever walk the earth. And I’ll miss him dearly. Seriously.

It’s hard to make a joke out of that.

And that’s why I’ll make my tribute into a poem:

You could have been a crooner or an opera singer.
You could have had a starring role opposite to Debra Winger.
Your voice remains a legend, and will so for many years.
When I heard you gave up the ghost, I felt like shedding tears.

It was all so unexpected, a life so full of joy.
I’d listen to you intently, when I was just a boy.
Whether Phillies won or lost, it really didn’t matter.
If Von Hayes hit a homer, or John Kruk was getting fatter.

You shouted and exalted when Mike Schmidt hit 500 dingers.
I think my iPhone uses your voice for one of its 10,000 ringers.
It just goes to show how you’ve spanned the generations.
In Canada, the USA, and many other nations.

Your sound is timeless. Your tempo’s perfect. Enunciation too.
You beautifully described some gum stuck to Lenny Dykstra’s shoe.
Last year you saw your precious Phils win, ending their fans heartaches.
It was caused by years and years of losing, and more than a few cheesteaks.

The cheese and steak block arteries, leading to atherosclerosis.
I heard Curt Schilling struck out batters with his chronic halitosis.
And Steve Bedrosian saved the games, as you smiled on us all.
While Whitey Ashburn mumbled on about King of Prussia Mall.

Juan Samuel can go to hell, but Eisenreich’s a winner.
Tommy Greene could be obscene, Darren Daulton’s quite the sinner.
Shane Rawley’s flame burned brightly, Bruce Ruffin’s not so much.
Steve Jeltz had the strength of half a man, Ed Wade had the golden touch.

The Ryan Howards, Jason Werths, and the Victorinos.
The Gap is having quite a sale on its loose-fit boot-cut chinos.
But rather than shop, we’ll raise a glass and toast to Harry Kalas.
For peace on Earth, good will to men. An end to all this malice.

Among tough times, of troubled hearts, and endless sour news.
It’s easy to forget the past, and only sing the blues.
But when we think about you Harry, of happy, simple times.
I thank you for your so-sweet voice, and praise you with these rhymes.

Rest in peace Harry. We’ll miss you.

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