By: Joe Auriemma
There are certain people just born to announce sporting events. Some are just graced with the smooth memorable voice. Names that come to mind, Bob Sheppard, John Facenda, and Harry Kalas. Today baseball and football lost a legend, a voice that represented the Philadelphia Phillies and NFL films. Kalas passed away at the ballpark today and Phillies games will never be the same.
I had the pleasure of spending part of Mr. Kalas’ 73rd birthday with him just a couple of weeks back on March 26th. It was a Yankees-Phillies game from Clearwater, Florida and we had a good discussion about the Yankees, the Phillies chances to repeat and Bright House Field, the Phillies Spring Training Complex. I was in awe. I could not believe I was sitting in the same room as this baseball legend. His voice was exactly the same way as when he was announcing. There was no phoniness to his legendary pipes.
The one thing that I surely will remember most is how inviting he was. The man had never met me, but he walked into the booth where I was working and started having a conversation with me like we had been friends for years.
Kalas received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2002 enshrining him into the Baseball Hall of Fame wing for broadcasters. This man was a class act and one of the last legends from a lost generation of memorible baseball announcers.
Here is just a look back at the blog from the day of Kalas’ birthday:
The press box is packed here at Bright House Field, so I decided to go
to an empty radio room to do my work today. While sitting there alone
and editing my videos, in walks a man with a very familiar voice and he
asks if I would mind if he sat next to me. It’s Harry Kalas, the Hall
of Fame Phillies Broadcaster. All I keep thinking in my mind is him
saying, “The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!,”
in his patented voice. I’m sure most of you have heard the familiar
voice if you don’t know the name. The funny thing is that his voice is
the same as if he was announcing the game. What a thrill!
By Jon Lane
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Nick Swisher 1B
Jorge Posada C
Xavier Nady RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Hideki Matsui DH
Cody Ransom 3B
Melky Cabrera RF
B.J. Upton CF
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Pat Burrell DH
Dioner Navarro C
Gabe Gross RF
Akinori Iwamura 2B
Jason Bartlett SS
Scott Kazmir P
Notes and storylines
Mark Teixeira (sore left wrist) remains sidelined and day-to-day, but apparently it’s nothing to be concerned about. Nick Swisher starts again at first base and the way he’s swinging the bat, that’s a good thing. Swisher is 8-for-16 in five starts and batting .471.
Chien-Ming Wang is eager to rebound from a brutal performance last Wednesday in Baltimore, when he was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. With Wang it’s simple: If his sinker is moving, he’ll be on his ‘A’ Game. If not, well ….
Alex Rodriguez (remember him?) worked out today in Tampa, Fla., and is now dedicated to baseball, reports Peter Abraham
B.J. Upton returns to the Rays after rehabbing a shoulder injury, just in time for the defending AL Champions’ home opener.
It’s a very sad day in baseball. Legendary and beloved Philadelphia Phillies announcer Harry Kalas died this afternoon after collapsing in the broadcast booth while preparing for the Phillies-Nationals game in Washington D.C. I met Kalas at Shea Stadium years ago while working with the Phillies production crew and remember him as a kind, down-to-earth and amazing person with a passion for the game and love for his job. At least he got to see (and call) the Phillies winning one more World Series before leaving us.
David Wells – the David Wells – has joined TBS as a color analyst.
By Joe Auriemma
The press box is packed here at Bright House Field, so I decided to go to an empty radio room to do my work today. While sitting there alone and editing my videos, in walks a man with a very familiar voice and he asks if I would mind if he sat next to me. It’s Harry Kalas, the Hall of Fame Phillies Broadcaster. All I keep thinking in my mind is him saying, “The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!,” in his patented voice. I’m sure most of you have heard the familiar voice if you don’t know the name. The funny thing is that his voice is the same as if he was announcing the game. What a thrill!
Back to the game, Joe Girardi did something that I really think is a good move for this lineup. Derek Jeter is today’s leadoff hitter . Jeter has led off 448 games in his career with a .315 average, 359 runs scored and a .389 on-base percentage. Now I know most of you would say that Jeter is getting a little bit older, and might not have the average or on-base percentage he has had in previous seasons, but I really think that a move like this in the lineup, might get him to see more pitches and give him an opportunity to come to the plate more often. I also think that Jeter, who did hit .300 last season, is going to have a more Jeterian year in 2009.
Hideki Matsui, showing why the Yankees are opting to use him as their cleanup hitter most of the time until A-Rod comes back, hit a two run dinger to right. Matsui is another one of those players that was and is a question mark coming into 2009 after an injury-riddled 2008. Right now it looks as if his pop is back and he’s ready to drive in some runs this season.
Joba Chamberlain gave up back-to-back jacks to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard that may have given him whiplash with how quickly each left the park. The two pitches he gave up the home runs on were very flat. As the game has progressed, he has regained his command and is starting to look sharp.
Cody Ransom hit a solo home run in the top of the 4th inning to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Joe Girardi told me in our Q&A the other day that Ransom has been great this spring. In fact here is the exact quote:
“Great spring. Very athletic player. He’s swung
the bat really well and we’ve still moved him around because Alex is
eventually going to be back. I feel comfortable putting him anywhere
and he brings a little thunder in his bat as well.”
I’ll be back with more from Clearwater. I might go bug Ken Singleton and Bob Lorenz for a half an inning and report back on how they are doing.
I’m back from the booth after bothering Bob (the
official YES blobber) and Ken Singleton. I was in there while they were
talking to Joe Girardi. While talking to Girardi, Joba was pulled from
the game. His final line, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. Not
really his best showing, but he has had a decent spring.
Coke came into the game. Coke, who Chris Shearn interviewed earlier
this week, is back in the game after a very bad left thigh contusion.
This is his first appearance since taking that line drive off of his
leg. Coke looked good. He faced the terrific lefty second baseman Chase
Utley. It was a battle and the count got to 3-2, when Joe Girardi told
Bob Lorenz and Ken Singleton that he would call an offspeed pitch in
the 3-2 situation and wouldn’t you know it, Phil Coke struck out Utley
on the 3-2 offspeed pitch. Great stuff from the booth.
Brian Bruney now in the game here in the Top of the 7th inning. Bruney needs to have a good outing. Coming into this game he has 8.1 innings pitched this spring with a 7.56 ERA, (7 earned runs). He’s also allowed eight hits, struck out 10 while walking six and has given up three home runs. This is a pitcher that they have slotted in as a possible 8th inning bridge to Mariano Rivera. The Yankees have put a lot of stock in Bruney being a big time reliever for them.
He just allowed a lead off double to Matt Stairs.
Bruney, after giving up that leadoff double, got out of the jam. This is a good sign for the Yankees. Like I said before, the Yankees need this guy to be good this season.
Nick Swisher just went yard. Chris Shearn had an interview with him on Monday and he is the clubhouse clown according to his teammates. I know there was a lot of talk about possibly moving this guy in the offseason and there is still rumblings that he may be moved. I think that would be a big mistake. From what I’ve seen down here, Swisher adds some fun and life into the clubhouse. In fact, he even said in his interview with Chris that the clubhouse was, “A little stuffy,” when he got here.
Not only does he add a little pop to the lineup, but he does get on-base a lot. Our own Steven Goldman thinks he should be the everyday right fielder over Xavier Nady, now while I don’t agree with him there, I definitely think he is a terrific piece to this 2009 team.
The Yankees win this one 10-2 over the Phillies from Clearwater. Some final thoughts from the game.
- The Jeter move to the leadoff spot was a very favorable move in its trial period today.
- Chamberlain didn’t have his best outing. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Once again, and something that’s been a knock of Joba’s starting career up to this point is that he runs up his pitch count very quickly. Today he only threw 4.1 Innings, but still managed to earn the victory.
- Phil Coke and Brian Bruney stepped up and pitched well today in key situations. Finally, with rumblings of Melky Cabrera or Nick Swisher possibly being traded, both smacked a home run today.
- That’s it from the ballpark. Be sure to catch all of the video interviews from today and another edition of The Diamond Daily.