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Monday, September 26, 2011

Scott Rolen In A Gay Bar*

Harry and me in 2003
On my flight out to San Francisco on the 13th I finally finished reading "Harry the K: The Remarkable Life of Harry Kalas," by Randy Miller. It's a must-read for Phillies fans, Philadelphia sports fans, baseball fans in general, fans of Kalas' work for NFL Films, or anyone interested in a fascinating biography. Miller's book is not a fluff piece. He spares no details in telling the life story of the late Phillies broadcaster. Harry was a drinker, although he never let it interfere with his work. And he was a womanizer. He was living with, and had a son with, the woman who eventually became his second wife years before his divorce from his first wife became final. He cheated on both wives for some time. Yet, for all his flaws, he was beloved by his family and friends, not to mention Phillies fans.

But that's not why you're reading this, are you? You read that headline and want the dirt, you naughty little minx. Well, you may have guessed that the following tale comes from Miller's book.

The team traveled to Pittsburgh for a series in June 2001. The night before the series was to begin, a group of Phillies personnel was at the hotel bar, including Kalas, fellow broadcasters Larry Andersen and Scott Graham, and third baseman Rolen (who eventually moved on, of course) and his fiancee. At 1 a.m. the bartender announced that it was last call -- early for Pennsylvania, since the bars are allowed to stay open until 2. The group, except for Graham, wasn't ready to call it a night.

So the bartender directed them to a nearby block where bars were still open:
the 900 block of Liberty Avenue. The Phillies group went into the first bar they saw, a place called Images, which was having karaoke night. But when they looked around, they saw the crowd was nearly all-male. They decided to stay anyway, until Larry Andersen made a trip to the men's room...

Standing at a urinal, Andersen heard two men walk in. From behind, one of them called out to him, "Nice ass!" Although secure in his sexuality and not one to judge, Andersen was a bit startled. Not knowing what to say or do, he surmised that he shouldn't ignore the comment. Still doing his business, he turned his head back towards the men and responded in a low voice, "Thank you."

But the men proved too much for L.A. He wasn't comfortable and persuaded the group to leave. They went across the street to a place called Chez Kimberly, which no longer exists. Inside, they looked around and saw less-than-attractive women, then noticed three stages with dancing girls. It was a go-go bar. Still, they wanted to drink...

Harry and friends had decided to stay...that is until an unattractive waitress covered with purple bruises and Band-Aids showed up.

"It was the sleaziest, dirtiest place I'd ever seen," Andersen recalled.

Harry Kalas, usually never one to complain, felt out of place. After ordering a beer, he spoke up with obvious exasperation. "Can we go back to the gay bar?" And so they did.

The next day, Graham approached Harry in the Phillies' television booth. "So you went out last night, huh? How was it?"

"Yeah, I went out," Harry said. "Scott Graham, when a gay bar is the best place to go in Pittsburgh, it's not a good night."

There are many entertaining anecdotes in the book, but this was, needless to say, one of the most special.

*Yeah, you fell for the headline. You expected more. You're a twisted little cruller, ain't you?

P.S. Here's a link to the post I wrote on the Outsports blog when Harry passed away.

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