Harry Kalas has been out of the sports world and the Phillies sports world, for roughly five and a half months now. I never had the opportunity to have a conversation with him, but I was privileged enough to meet him at “Cabrini Night at the Phillies” my junior year of college.
When I received my press pass, entered the elevator and made my way up to the presidential suite to write an article for the Loquitur, the elevator stopped and in walked Harry Kalas himself and I, still being the shy reporter, did not initiate a “hello,” but I was luckily introduced by my escort.
Never will I forget his handshake and the way his voice came to life as he said, “Nice to meet you, Kasey.”
I know this may not seem like a very momentous event to many, but growing up, watching the Phils and hearing only his voice, it was major to a small-town girl.
So, it may not come as a surprise that I was taken aback like most when his death hit the sports world hard.
As the next few games passed, I knew I had to get used to watching the games on Comcast SportsNet, while listening to “Wheels,” “Sarge” and “T-Mac.” As home runs were being hit out of the park, these commentators could never get the catchphrase, “That ball is outta here,” quite correct, but I knew I had to deal.
Change is hard to overcome, but as the Phils’ record was inching higher in the wins column, I couldn’t help to call these three guys, “my” new sportscasters.
Tom “T-Mac” McCarthy, the head honcho of the booth, was with the Phils as their radio play-by-play voice, their pre-game and post-game radio host.
He was then brought on to be a play-by-play announcer for their television broadcasts. I am not going to lie, I do enjoy the banter he has back and forth with his co-announcers and he does know his baseball sports history (Even though he probably has much of the information on statistic sheets in front of him).
I give him much credit to get in that seat where Kalas sat and pick up the season where he left off. Though one thing killed me, and I know it wasn’t just me it rubbed the wrong way.
Last week, as the Phils were up on the Houston Astros 10-3 in the top of the ninth inning and ready to clinch the National League East championship, I couldn’t even enjoy it. Ok, so it may have been Tom McCarty’s spelling first division championship game calling, but the keyword is DIVISION.
I felt like I was watching one of two things: I was watching either a high school baseball game being called by a high school student or a World Series championship game being called as the champagne bottles were popping.
As each out was made, I heard the ringing of his headset come out of my television speakers. As the third out was called, it was as if Brad Lidge got the memo from “T-Mac” that they were being nominated for outstanding duo in an acting sequence.
It was actually a little embarrassing to watch; Charlie Manuel putting in Lidge for the last out after his record-breaking, 11 blown saves on the season.
It is amazing that they won this championship for Kalas, but there are bigger eggs to fry and that is playoffs.
Just because you brought it home last season does not mean it is in the bag this season. And judging by their last games of the season, they better get their heads to where they belong because it looks to me that they think it may be a cake walk.
In my opinion, their record should have read more wins and the Atlanta Braves SHOULDN’T have been that close on their heels.
So, before the championship shirts and hats are printed and the bottles of the “good stuff” are brought into the locker room, I think the Phils should remember that winning the National League East championship isn’t what gets them their rings.
Harry the “K” wouldn’t want them to stop here and he sure as heck doesn’t want “T-Mac” to butcher any more games. Phils, bring all of your fans what we really want because if you don’t, it will really grind OUR gears.