Whitey and Harry: Together again

April 13, 2009

Harry throws the first pitch

Very, very sad news from DC today. The Hall of Fame voice of the Phillies, Harry Kalas, has died.  He was 73.

Other Phillies bloggers will come up with much more thorough, eloquent tributes to Harry the K, but I feel compelled to share a few of my thoughts on the man.

Harry called games with a lovely, sonorous baritone (aided by thousands of Parliament Lights, which the man apparently smoked with impunity).  Even in his later years as he lost a step (so to speak) it was still a pleasure to hear him call a home run with his signature “swing and a loooooong drive” call.  I can only imagine how much it means to players to have him call a home run or a well-made play on their highlight reels.

His rapport with Whitey Ashburn was legendary;  Phillies fans of a certain age can perform the Celebre’s Pizza gag from memory.

My favorite of his broadcast quirks was when he’d sign off a West coast game that would inevitably end after midnight on the East coast with the final score and “Good morning, everybody.”

Even if you weren’t a Phillies fan, you knew Harry Kalas’ work;  his distinctive voice made him a favorite voice-over artist for NFL Films, Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, commercials, and movie trailers.

I admit that after the Phillies won the World Series last season, I thought Harry should retire.  The call that’s become a rallying cry for Phillies fans everywhere–“The 0-2 pitch:  Swing and a miss!  Struck him out!  The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 world champions of baseball!”–would truly send him off into retirement at the top of his game.  But when the season opened this year I realized that the team needed Harry to be there, to be the voice of the campaign to defend their hard-won title.  Who else could do it but he?

Phillies games will never sound the same without Harry Kalas doing play-by-play.  But I take pleasure in the fact that he died in the pursuit of something he loved, something about which he was passionate.  We should all be so lucky.

Turn the beat around

April 8, 2009

While I can’t be certain, I’m going to assume that 0 and 2 is not how the World Fuckin’ Champions want to open the season.

I hate you, LARRY

A scene from last night’s shutout.  I hate you and your ass face, Chipper.

Marathon, sprint, yeah yeah yeah, I know all that. I’d just like it if they picked up a W today…the day they pick up their rings. I’m going to this afternoon’s game; I’ll have pictures tomorrow.

Ding dong, the witch is dead

February 27, 2009

Adam Eaton is no longer a Phillie. From the very brief item on Phillies.com (and p.s., how relieved do you imagine Todd Zolecki is to have gotten off the sinking ship that is PNI?)

Eaton, who makes $8.5 million this season, plus $500,000 on a club option for 2010, was not a candidate to win the fifth spot in the Phillies’ rotation.

Weep not for Adam Eaton.  He’ll land on his feet.  Some team will pick him up for a song and use him for junk innings, or stash him at AAA for insurance.  So go cry into your Scrooge McDuck money, Adam Eaton.

Brad Lidge has an oopsie tummy

February 24, 2009

In his article about the Phillies on ESPN.com today, Peter Gammons shares an anecdote about The Lidgemeister.

“Right in back of the bullpen in Philly we have a crab-fries stand. They are great. I love them. If I know I’m not going to pitch, I love the smell and sometimes eat them. But if I think I may be going into try to close a game, the smell makes me throw up. But as I say, it’s good, because it’s edge, adrenaline.”

Gammons says The Lidgemeister warned his teammates early in the season that he gets queasy in big-game situations.  I find this charming because I have the same problem;  I too hold my anxiety in my stomach.  I also find it charming that Brad Lidge is not immune to the siren call of the crab fry.

(HT to Matt P for the pickup.)

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

February 19, 2009

If there’s one institutional learning facility I hate more than Notre Dame, it’s Penn State.  So as I was perusing the slideshows on the Phillies’ web site, what did I see at “Phillies Night at Penn State“?

The Nittany Lion holds the WS Trophy


Brad Lidge is fit (but you know it)

February 19, 2009

I believe this is the first time I’ve featured the Lidgemeister on Plunk Chutley. [EDIT:  It’s not, but it’s the first time I’ve given him his own post.]  This is probably because I hate Notre Dame and anyone who went there, works there, or roots for their shitty, shitty football team (except Tex, who I love).  So congratulations, Brad:  Once you’ve been objectified by yours truly you can really say You’ve Made It.

Here are a couple of photos I swiped from the AP wire (Thanks, Gene Puskar!) from this week in Clearwater:

Cue the Beatles.

brad twists and shouts

We used to do these at crew practice in high school.  Some people called them “planks,” but I used to call them “bridgies.”

brad lidge does a bridgie

New name:  LIDGIES!

It’s Cole’s world, we just live in it

February 18, 2009

cole's SI cover

It was only a matter of time before Cole made the cover of Sports Illustrated.  As you would expect, Ben Reiter’s article about the World Series MVP (which is how Cole garnishes his autograph now) paints a flattering picture of him.

But the most interesting part of the article are the five grafs about The Fight.  By now, everyone who’s followed Cole’s career knows the story (broke his pitching hand during Spring Training in a dustup at a bar in Clearwater) but Reiter has fleshed out the details with quotes from the guy Cole beat up, who apparently holds no ill will toward Cole, and a frankly unflattering quote from Ruben Amaro:  “‘We try to treat all of our players fairly…but some players we treat more fairly than others.'”  I can’t put my finger on why this quote bothers me so much.  I think maybe it’s because it’s one of those things you think but shouldn’t say.

In other news, single game tickets are on sale!  I already have tickets for Ring Day and Charlie Manuel bobblehead night, and I might buy a ticket for the Jayson Werth fleece blanket game.

Appropriating groundskeepers’ equipment: A Phillies tradition unlike any other

February 16, 2009

I’d like to think that this

Scott Eyre on the groundskeeper's cart

is the spiritual descendent of this

vintage phillie in wheelbarrow

HT to Meech for drawing my attention to this wonderful Life Magazine gallery of vintage baseball photos.  I wish I could identify the players!  I spotted Richie Ashburn in a few photos, but I can’t name any of the other players.

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

February 16, 2009

Chan Hoooooo!

Chan Ho Park’s got some backyard on him, doesn’t he?

Isn’t that a lovely sight?

February 11, 2009

It’s the first beautiful, sunny day of 2009.  No better way to spend it than by blogging about Spring Training.

Pictured:  El Capitan (I think I’m going to try to make that stick this season, whaddya think?) walking the warning track at Bright House Field in Clearwater.  Apparently Chutley’s hip rehab is going according to plan.  Check out more photos in what I’m sure will be the first of many 2009 Spring Training galleries on Philly.com.

Good to be back.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.