Lately, as some comments have noted, Harry Kalas has seen reduced time behind the mike and there is talk that he is on his way out – and not by choice. Apparently, the Phils were none too pleased with his fan-friendly calls of some crucial at bats last week. Instead of conveying just the facts, Kalas occasionally likes to root his team on…is there anything wrong with that? Remember when Harry and Whitey used to call extra inning games? They were always liquored up just enough to make you watch the game to the final out. Well, according to Phillies brass, fun in the broadcast booth is inappropriate.
While there has been no explicit statement of condemnation, since last week, two suspicious events have occurred. First is of course the reduced air time. The first instance was Saturday when he was relegated to doing color on the radio. Then Sunday afternoon, we only had the pleasure of hearing Harry for a few innings. I mean really, I nice relaxing Sunday with Harry’s soothing baritone in the background is what us Phillies fans live for! It’s like a drug. Today, I stuck in Wrigleyville trying to watch the Eagles and the occasionally Phils score so I was not able to track Harry’s PT. I hear the Fightin’s are hanging in there with a win against the Braves but if anyone noticed anything awry, let us know.
The second harbinger is the recent hiring of sports broadcaster Scott Palmer as a media consultant. While the move to bring the former Action News icon on board is certainly not a bad decision on the surface, the timing and motive is certainly suspect. It is rumored he is in South Philly to improve the Phillies public face and media relations. It sounds a little bit like in Office Space when the Bobs were brought in to help with the firings.
At a recent Phillies gathering, when a reporter asked Kalas’ new co-pilot, Larry Anderson, if Harry would be back next year, he simply replied “Yes.” Details as to in what specific capacity remain undisclosed nor has an explicit vote of confidence been given.
So, like I said these are all just rumors, but when a series of them converge, we should take notice. Harry turns 70 in March, and while some say he has been slipping as of late, I guarantee Phillies Nation would not stand for him being pushed aside. Similar to Joe Paterno, this man is an institution and has consistently contributed positively to the lives of sports fans across the nation. He deserves nothing less than a graceful retirement…one comes on his own time.