This past Tuesday, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame hosted their 4th annual Golf Classic at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Philly sports history which inducts new members annually.
The golf event was attended by many Philadelphia stars, including former Phillies, Flyers, 76ers and Eagles, along with broadcasters and other special guests. I was asked to be the photographer for the event, which was in honor of the memory of Harry Kalas. This is a tribute table with a few of Harry’s belongings and memorabilia:
The day included a putting contest, lunch, shotgun golf round, live and silent auctions, a million dollar hole-in one contest and the “High Hopes” reception and dinner. Much of the time was spent by chatting with VIP guests as well as enjoying the golf course. By the way, former Phillie Darren Daulton promised me the Phillies would be snapping out of their current funk very soon. I am holding him to that.
From top to bottom, left to right, here is Darren along with Greg Luzinski, Terry Harmon, Andy Ashby, Tyler Green, Mike Mamula (former Eagle), someone I do not know and Dickie Noles. If you know who the mystery guest is, feel free to let me know ;o)
Other sports were represented as well. This next photo collage includes former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, former Eagles player Chuck Bednarik who was showing me his bent finger, former Eagles Eddie Khayat and Vince Papale and former Flyer, Bernie Parent, possibly the most entertaining man on the planet. If you have never met Bernie, you are missing out on a real treat. The man is a ball of energy and funnier than most professional comedians:
I have tons of other photos which show many other big stars from the day and all of the events that went on. Feel free to check that out. Thanks to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for inviting me! It was a memorable day.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies pulled out a win today, although it was with heavy hearts. One of the best Phillies pitchers of all time, Robin Roberts, passed away today at age 83 of natural causes. Roberts played for the Phillies from 1948 – 1961 and in his entire career he had a 3.41 ERA over 676 games which included 305 complete games.
Roberts was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 and has been a regular around the Phillies for all these years. Roberts returned to Philly every year for annual induction ceremonies, special events and attended Spring Training each year as well.
Actually, Roberts was scheduled to attend a golf and dinner outing in honor of Harry Kalas in just a few weeks, along with many other Hall of Famers. I have been invited to the event and was very much looking forward to seeing him and having the opportunity to chat with him. But more than being very saddened by this news for that reason, I am terribly sorry for his family and the entire Phillies organization. My heart goes out to everyone who knew him. He was a very special individual.
But the game went on today despite the sad news and the Phillies won it for him. With the 1950 pennant hung at half mast and a black drape around Robert’s Wall of Fame plaque, Roy Halladay took the mound and was a true professional, as usual. Against the Cardinals, he pitched 7 innings and allowing only 1 earned run, Halladay was not super sharp, but still extremely effective.
Halladay walked 3 batters and had a lot of base runners; in the 7th inning with two outs and 2 men on, it even looked like manager Charlie Manuel may pull him from the game. Manuel went out to the mound but with a stern look on his face, Halladay convinced him that he could finish the inning. And with that, it only took one pitch to Matt Holliday to end it. This guy is amazing.
Jayson Werth had a special connection to Roberts as they grew up in the same town and spoke about that often; Werth channeled his grief into a huge game at the plate. He hit 2 doubles and a 3-run homer in the game. Werth did commit an error in right field when the wind and sun helped him drop a fly ball, but no one was complaining after his offensive output.
Carlos Ruiz had a 3-hit day as well with Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard collecting 2 hits each. Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 5th for the 900th RBI of his career. The opposing pitcher, Kyle Loshe, lasted only 4 innings and allowed 5 of the Phillies 7 runs, although 2 were unearned due to errors. Actually, it was a sloppy game all around defensively with each team committing 2 errors a piece.
The umpires did not have a clean game either. Andy Fletcher, who played the villain in Game 1 of this series, had another blooper today. While trying to turn a double play, the Cards Albert Pujols had to jump off first base to catch the ball for the 3rd out of the inning. Replay showed that as Wilson Valdez crossed the bag, Pujols was in mid-air and not on the bag. Valdez was called out by Fletcher who refused to argue with Manuel after the play and walked away. The home plate umpire had some questionable calls as well, but Halladay handled him with a quick chat after the 5th inning.
So the Phillies walk away with a 3 games to 1 series victory over the Cardinals, the best team in the National League. Although now, the Phillies have just 1 less win than the Cards and hold a 2 game lead for first place in the NL East. Tomorrow at 7:05pm, they will begin a 3-game series with the Braves and Jamie Moyer will pitch. The Phillies will begin wearing #36 patches on their jersey’s tomorrow as well in honor of Robin Roberts.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
As I began walking out of Citizen’s Bank Park after yesterday’s win, the familiar sound of Harry Kalas’ voice broke into “High Hopes.” Fans sung along as they wandered towards the exits, high fiving other fans as they went. Then I remembered; Tuesday would be one year since we lost Harry.
One year ago today I was at the game in DC, staring up at the press box when I heard the news. Hard to believe he was gone; still hard to believe one year later. If you are a Phillies fan, Harry was your friend, whether you had met him or not. He loved each one of us. Those of us who knew Harry personally feel privileged have to been able to spend time with him and will never forget those special moments.
Earlier today, I remembered a few years back when another fan approached Harry and told him it was her birthday. Without skipping a beat, he asked what her name was and then broke into song with, “Happy Birthday.” That is the kind of giving person he was and why he will always be missed.
…In case you missed it earlier, here is the full Photo Album of the Home Opener yesterday.
In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up. He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain. Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days. This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals.
That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places. Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars? Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?
The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade. No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player. Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap. And the Phillies could never afford Pujols. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar. “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”
Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1. Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot. I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.
While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not. JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void. However, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far. Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance. He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery. One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.
Pet Peeve of The Week
So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired. Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison. However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level. Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos. And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.
In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands. He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this. There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans. The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”
First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game. Get over it. Secondly, there are “no worse fans?” Seriously? Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things. While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude.
A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive. That is human nature. You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional. You want rude? Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett! You should be ashamed.
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Photos by Jenn
On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 106th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ. The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area. The event is usually hosted by the great Harry Kalas, but sadly, he is no longer with us. This same event last year was the last time I spoke with Harry. This year, the PSWA invited his son, Todd Kalas, who spoke with great affection and admiration about his father. I have video of the speech that you can watch below.
The tone of the banquet was still very upbeat and in usual PSWA style, many great athletes and coaches from the area were honored in grand fashion. The Phillies were awarded “Team of the Year” which was accepted by Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. accepted the award for “Executive of the Year.” Former Phillie and current advisor, Dickie Noles was given the “Humanitarian” award and Von Hayes was there also as a guest.
The next set of photos are of Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr., me with broadcasters Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy and Phillies PA announcer, Dan Baker.
The following video shows speeches from Todd Kalas, Amaro and Manuel. Note the “jokes” about the Cliff Lee trade; Amaro playfully blamed it on Charlie. Sorry Ruben, I fail to see the humor. Ok, don’t get me started on that…here’s the video:
There were plenty of other sports icons in attendance, including the 76ers Willie Green who got the “Good Guy” award, Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Eagles player Brent Celek who was named the “Outstanding Professional Athlete” of 2009:
We also heard from Andrew Bailey who was given the “Native Son” award; Bailey grew up in the Philly area and won Rookie of the Year for the American League in 2009 as the closer for the Oakland A’s. Ruben asked who his agent was and tried to steal him away…no success I’m afraid.
The MVP of the Army Navy Game, Ricky Dobbs, was also honored as well as Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova basketball, Fran Dunphy of Temple basketball , the 1960 Eagles and many others. The full list of honorees can be seen at the PSWA web site. I also put together a Photo Album from the event which shows many of these people as well.
The highlight of the night may have been comedian Joe Conklin who does impressions of his favorite Philly sports figures. His Cole Hamels impersonation is hysterical. Take a look:
And finally, here is clip of a program that will air this Thursday at 11pm on 6-ABC Philadelphia. The show is about the Phillies Off-Season and will include some photos that I took during the 2010 Phillies Cruise last month :O)
If you live in the Philly area, set the DVR or tune in at 11pm on 2/4/10.
Photos by Jenn
Here is moment you have all been waiting for! My end of the year video slideshow! Ok, well, maybe you were not quite on the edge of your seats, but here it is anyway ;o)
These are all photos that I took during the 2009 season. It includes a tribute to Harry Kalas, Opening Day and Ring Ceremony photos, tons of player photos, the Phanatic, away games in DC, San Francisco, etc… And yes, all photos were taken by me from the stands. I get asked that a lot…no, I don’t have field access (I wish!). So, I do the best I can between peoples bobbing heads, waving arms and enthusiastic children…I think it turned out pretty good :O)
Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or whatever below!
Photos & Video by Jenn
Entering tonight’s game, the Phillies had won 2 in a row and the Marlins had just been swept in 3-games by the Nationals. But none of that mattered as the game quickly went down the drain for the Phils. Mistakes and missed opportunities sent them away with a 2-3 loss.
One of those missed opportunities took place in the 2nd inning when the Phillies had runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs and failed to score. Managing only 2 hits in the game through 6 innings, the Phillies batters looked like they were swatting at flies…and missing.
The only offense in the game came from a recent addition to the Phillies. Ben Francisco started in right field tonight while Shane Victorino gave his bum knee a rest; The Frisco Kid tried to play cowboy in the 7th inning and wrangle the Fish. First, he threw out a runner at home plate to end the 1st half of the 7th. Then, when he stepped to the plate for the 2nd half of the inning, Francisco hit a 2-run homer, putting the Phillies within 1 run of catching those slippery Fish.
But Francisco could not play hero in the bottom of the 9th, as he struck out to start the inning in what was still a very close game. Greg Dobbs hit a long fly ball to left for out #2. Then, Matt Stairs put on his cowboy hat and stepped to the plate. He kicked his spurs, reached back and….grounded out softly to 1st base to end the game :O(
Before the game, Harry Kalas was honored and officially inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame. As his three sons watched, the Phillies introduced previously inducted members of the Hall to the field by playing Harry’s voice, using previously taped announcements for each of those former players. Mike Schmidt seemed especially moved upon hearing Harry call him to the field one last time. The entire ceremony was very touching and a genuine tribute to the man who represented Phillies baseball for almost four decades. Too bad the Phils could not pull out a win for Harry, but that is baseball. Tomorrow is another day…