The advice Tom McCarthy received 20 years ago from Harry Kalas was simple: Be yourself. McCarthy joined the Phillies broadcast booth in 2001 and the team didn’t need another Harry The K. Instead, Kalas told McCarthy they just needed him to be McCarthy.
It was small guidance, but it stuck. And that wisdom from the Hall of Famer is the same direction McCarthy provided this week to his son, Patrick, before he replaces him in the TV broadcast booth.
Patrick McCarthy, 26, who is the broadcaster for triple-A Lehigh Valley, will provide play-by-play for Phillies games Saturday and Sunday on NBC Sports Philadelphia against San Diego while his father is in Cleveland calling an NFL preseason game.
“You might hear a little bit of Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy in him and Dan Shulman in him, but you’re going to hear Patrick McCarthy more than anyone else,” Tom McCarthy said. “I just want him to be himself. I don’t want him to do anything differently than when he calls the Lehigh Valley games.”
Patrick McCarthy played baseball at TCNJ and started calling IronPigs games in 2018 after a season in double-A Reading’s booth. He also broadcasts Princeton football and basketball and St. Joseph’s basketball. His younger brother, Tommy, played with him at TCNJ and spent this summer on an independent-league team in Gary, Ind.
Baseball, Tom McCarthy said, “means so much to our family.”
The McCarthy kids -- Tommy, Patrick, and their sisters Maggie and Kerri -- grew up in their father’s broadcast booth. Patrick McCarthy was a toddler sitting on his father’s lap while he called minor-league games for the Trenton Thunder as he forged his way to the majors. All these years later, McCarthy will be sitting in his dad’s chair again.
“It’s the dream of a lifetime,” Patrick McCarthy said. “I can’t thank the Phillies and NBC Sports enough for it. It’s truly a dream come true and such an honor.”
“It’s brought me everything. Without baseball, I don’t know where I would be, honestly. It was my first real love.”
McCarthy was in Ocean City, N.J., two weeks ago when he received word that he was heading to the majors for a weekend. He celebrated that night with family and has sought advice and feedback from announcers around the major leagues.
He traveled with his father this week to see how the TV broadcasters call road games remotely from Philadelphia, but he’s already familiar with the style since he’s doing it this season when Lehigh Valley travels. Except he’ll have a bigger screen to watch this weekend than the iPad in his apartment.
McCarthy has been in the minors for four seasons, spent offseasons as a substitute teacher, and was a teacher’s assistant last year when the pandemic canceled minor-league games as he followed his dream. It’s just two games. But he’ll get a taste this weekend of what it’s like. And he’ll have advice from his father -- and Kalas -- to fall back on.
“I know how hard it was on all of them. I wasn’t always around when they were growing up,” Tom McCarthy said. “My wife, Meg, did an amazing job of making sure that everything was normal in their world. I never thought that any of my kids would follow in my footsteps to try and do this for a living. But I think they realized that I go to work happy every day. I very rarely feel like I have a bad day. I think they see that it’s a great life. To me, it’s gratifying that they would want to do something that I did.”
“I’m really happy that he’ll get to be an even bigger part of the Phillies family because they’ve been such a big part for me. This is my 19th year with the Phillies and 21st in Major League Baseball. There’s not a better place to work.”
The Phillies designated right-handed reliever Maurico Llovero for assignment and added Jorge Bonifacio from triple A. The 28-year-old outfielder has played 217 big-league games over four seasons with Kansas City and Texas. The right-hander was hitting .321 with a .996 OPS in 22 games at triple A. ... Aaron Nola will start Saturday against San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove.