The shot capped a six-run ninth inning for the Phillies, who came back to defeat the Chicago Cubs 7-5. Harper’s sprint around the bases was impressive and only added to the euphoria at Citizens Bank Park.
A reminder of that moment, as if you needed one.
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 16, 2019
While the call by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Tom McCarthy, alongside John Kruk, was thrilling, the Spanish call might be even better.
Harper’s grand slam in Spanish
Every big moment elicits a clamor for the call in other languages. Usually, from European football to American football and yes, to baseball, it’s Spanish. So Nick Piccone of Philly Influencer delivered, and the call on 1680 WTTM AM didn’t disappoint.
Here’s the Spanish call from 1680 AM pic.twitter.com/VsTm2Hd4Sb
— Nick Piccone (@nickpiccone) August 16, 2019
Just listen to that excitement as soon as Harper’s bat connects. The long vowel helps drive home the largeness of the moment and announcer Bill Kulik draws it through into Harper’s celebration at home base with his teammates.
“Dos y dos. El zurdo. Viene. ¡Batazo profundo! ¡Al jardín derecho! Atras de la bolaaaaaaaaa! ¡Se va de cuadrangular!” Kulik said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Karla Ovalle of The Philadelphia Inquirer translated the Spanish call into English. And it’s not as exciting that way.
“Two and two. The lefty. Here it comes. Deep hit to right field! Tracking the baaaaaaaaaaalll! And it’s gone for a home run!”
So why is it the Spanish version sounds so good?
It could be because English speakers are attracted to the melody of a language, lecturer Dr. Patti Adank at the University College of London told The Guardian. The way the Spanish language flows in Kulik’s call sounds prettier than the same call with English tones. Consider “dos y dos,” which flows better than “two and two,” a phrase with two hard notes at the beginning.
NPR’s Code Switch looked at the phenom of Americans preferring soccer on the Spanish-speaking Univision in March 2014. Researcher Aaron DeNu said it was partly due to the transition of words and the way it’s more “poetic and fluid and passionate.” Or even a growing affinity for foreign style and culture.
It could also simply be we like seeing or hearing something different. Like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia: You have no clue what’s going on and it’s incredibly exciting.
Harper’s walk-off on radio
Scott Franzke, the play-by-play announcer for 1210 WPHT, came close to the long vowel of the Spanish call with a long emphasis on “gone.” Arguably, in English, it’s a lot better than hearing “ball” drawn out.
— Cindy Webster (@CindyWeb94) August 16, 2019
Close your eyes and imagine that the way it should be — without visuals.
Cubs announcer during Harper’s grand slam
Of course, anything is more exciting that a dejected Len Kasper on WGN-TV. The Cubs announcer barely made the call while the stadium erupted and the camera focused on the foul pole.
Cubs broadcast calls Bryce Harper's walk-off grand slam pic.twitter.com/cbQIOk4794
— VHS (@VanHicklestein) August 16, 2019
Towering. Titanic. Harsh.
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