2009 MLB National League East Notebook
When any baseball fan listened to a baseball game and heard the home run call “outta here’’, they knew they were listening to Philadelphia Phillies treasured voice Harry Kalas.
Since 1971, Kalas became a household summer tradition for Philadelphia fans. But his voice fell silent on April 13. Kalas passed away in Washington because of complications from heart disease. He was 73.
Kalas was also the voice of NFL Films since the mid-1970s. He described the 1980 and 2008 World Champiosnhips, the 1983 and 1993 National League Pennant winning teams, six no-hitters and Mike Schmidt’s 500 th career home run.
When former players talked about Kalas, their voices cracked because of the intimate relationships they had with him. They were reverent and respectful.
And ironically, Kalas’ time came in the broadcast booth. He was preparing for the Phillies series opener at Washington when he was found passed out in the booth. Kalas was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Kalas’ condition did not appear to be very good last week. Local personalities said they didn’t like the way he had looked when they saw him.
When longtime voice of a person’s favorite team passes, a little of us goes with him.
Questions surrounding manager Manny Acta’s future have surfaced, especially since the Nationals have begun the season at 0-7.
And really, it’s easy to see why. Washington’s ERA of 7.71 is the worst in the baseball, the team has scored only 34 runs and it was already six games out first place. That’s pretty hard to do when the season is less than two weeks old.
Plus, starting center fielder and leadoff hitter Lastings Milledge was already sent back to Triple-A after hitting .167 with 10 strikeouts.
The Mets opened up beautiful Citi Field on April 13 with a disappointing 6-5 loss to San Diego. But consider the ballpark a thing of beauty.
With the historic opening came more history. When Padres center fielder Jody Gerut led off the game with a home run, he became the first player in baseball history to open a new ballpark with a home run.
Gerut’s response? “Very Cool.’’
New York has been pretty solid in shutting teams down by allowing only 35 runs and the opposition is hitting only .236.
Tom Glavine’s return to Atlanta may never happen. Instead it may end in retirement. Glavine, 43, started the year on the disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder. He left his rehab start at Double-A Mississippi on April 12 because of more issues. Glavine said he is giving it two weeks to respond to rest and rehab before he decides if he wants to continue.
You could understand Glavine’s reluctance. There really isn’t more he has to prove in his sure Hall of Fame career. Glavine has won 305 game and may be the last 300-game winner baseball fans will see for some time. He was also a 10-time All-Star and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1991 and 1998.
Florida is proving that its player development system is one of the best in baseball. This cast of no-names is off to a 7-1 start, the best since the 1997 World Championship squad.
Emilio Bonifacio is hitting .436, Jorge Cantu has a 1.136 OPS and Dan Uggla has 12 RBI.
Meanwhile right-hander Josh Johnson has broken quickly at 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA through his first two starts. Even more impressive is that he has 15 strikeouts and one walk.
By Kevin Lonnquist
> View all of the 2008 MLB team previews from Pro Baseball Fans