Harry Kalas and Whatever It Takes, Dude


I commemorated Harry’s death last night by digging through a plastic bin of Xbox games and DVDs I don’t watch anymore (Who bought Spider-Man 3 and put it in a collection of all of my belongings?!) and finding the VHS copy I have of “Whatever It Takes, Dude,” the 1993 Phillies video retrospective narrated by HK and Lenny Dykstra.

Harry is, of course, at home in the voiceover booth, cradling each sentence in his dulcet voice before laying it down comfortably to rest in your ears.  Lenny sounds like he’s falling down a never ending staircase.

Nevertheless, I recommend watching it as a valid memorial to a our fallen voice from the skies.  After The Comcast Network aired the clinching game from the NLCS of that year, it reminded me that I even had the tape, and with the anniversary of Harry’s death right around the corner, it was like he was poking me from the sky and nodding, just like that one time I got him to sign a baseball at Spring Training and he smiled at me as if we were old friends, when in reality, he was most likely thinking “What is wrong with this kid’s glasses and why doesn’t he possess the wherewithal of a human being to ask that they be fixed.”

The part where Lee Thomas orders Pete Incaviglia to ruin Curt Schilling’s face with a lemon meringue pie comes to mind.  Dutch and Kruk agreeing with Roy Firestone’s description of their relationship as “Friends…. teammates…. lovers.”  Larry Andersen face-planting while successfully covering first base.

And the whole time, Harry is there, both in the clips and the explanation of them, his voice still rocketing into higher tones at the eruption of excitement (David West hitting a bases-clearing double is a particularly nice sample).  Richie was still there, too, to let you know that sacrifice bunts were fucking bullshit and to openly insult Chris Wheeler.

A simpler time.

Its a chunky slice of Harry (and Richie) that works well en memoriam.  It was the year I got into the sport, and after that, every horrible year of autumnless baseball until the current era–I remember explaining to my mom with an ignorant 10-year-old smile that the Phillies just needed to win 13 games and the Braves just needed to lose 13 and we’d be in first place–was made a little better when filtered through Harry’s gentle tone.

If I could have gotten all of the bad news I’ve ever received through Harry Kalas, it at least would have had a charming, dulcet familiarity to it.  Harry narrating the story of the 1993 Phillies is like getting him to read aloud nightly from a trashy romance novel and then drunkenly singing “High Hopes” at the end.  And I mean, what better summary of Phillies baseball could there be.