The death of Phillies' announcer Harry Kalas yesterday affected me more than the passing of any celebrity I can remember and today I've been thinking about it and trying to figure out exactly why that is. I grew up listening to Kalas and Richie Ashburn calling games and part of going home to my parents' house is walking in the door and hearing Kalas' voice drifting in from the den.
When I was a teenager, my father and I, like many fathers and teenage sons, were often at odds. We could go for weeks at a time where we barely spoke a word to each other. I would often slink in the door late those summer evenings and my father would be the only one in the house awake, parked in his seat at the end of the sofa close to the television watching the Phillies game. I would plop into the chair farthest from him. We might or might not acknowledge each other's presence and the only sound in the room would be that rich baritone of Harry Kalas sharing an anecdote with Whitey Ashburn or providing the soundtrack to a Michael Jack Schmidt long, deep drive to left-centerfield.