This year, the Phillies' biggest offseason move was a scrambling of the broadcast booth. Longtime employee Chris Wheeler and more recent addition Gary Matthews were bumped out for a combination of Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs, with Mike Schmidt showing up on Sundays at Citizens Banks Park.
Moyer and Stairs are folk heroes from a disappearing era of Phillies baseball, and for the most part, they've been able to jaw about the game without obliviously dissolving into highly suggestive metaphors. The fan reaction has been positive, and it's nice for Tom McCarthy to have someone to talk to.
But with the cutting of Wheeler from the booth where he worked and presumably slept for the last few decades, we lost our last link to the Harry Kalas era.
Harry's best wingman, Richie Ashburn, passed away in 1997. Weekend afternoon guy Andy Musser did the same in 2012. Predicted heir to the Kalas fortune, Scott Graham, was abruptly fired in 2006, forced to live on as a Phillies broadcaster solely in bottle-opener form.
Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke worked with the Phillies at the same time as Harry, but usually not directly with him, being quarantined to the radio where their antics can be contained.
LA - "Is this gonna last forever?" Franzke - "You and I working together? Not a chance" #Phillies
— Franzke & LA (@FranzkeLA) April 13, 2014
Five years after his death, the Phillies have a chorus of voices, some beloved, some ignored, some brand new. But we know all too well that none of them are Harry's.
Baseball is a long game, but nothing lasts forever. One moment, Harry was there, calling Matt Stairs' April 12th, 2009 home run against the Nationals, and the next he was gone, leaving every home run following without a proper farewell. Fortunately, thanks to the internet, we can dwell in the past as long as we'd like. In fact, modern technology allows you to carry Harry around in your pocket.
So dive in. Here are a few to get your binge started. Like you weren't going to spend today watching Kalas video clips anyway.
1987: Harry narrates the story of the Pirates' Don Robinson trying desperately to limit Mike Schmidt to 499 career home runs. It does not end well.
1989: Harry's call of Bobby Dernier's walk-off inside the park home run against the Giants at Veterans Stadium resonates even through terrible video quality.
1993: Harry coins the now seldon-used nickname "Mitchie-poo" for Mitch Williams, after Wild Thing hits a walk off single, proving there's no telling what's going to come out of your mouth at 4:40 in the morning.
2007: Harry calls two of Ryan Howard's three home runs in one game against the Braves, as well as a fan running onto the field to try and most likely hug Howard. We were all pretty full of emotion that year.
The highlight of this video is clearly, "Now up for the Phillies, Jeff Conine." Jeff Conine!
2008: Hopes had gotten about as high as they can, and Harry Kalas had just the song for the occasion.