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Local Heroes

They've been together in TV and radio booths for eight seasons,
but Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow, the Giants' broadcast team on
Fox Sports Net Bay Area, called their first games 16 years ago
in the San Francisco dugout. Because Kuiper, a utility
infielder, was mainly a pinch hitter by then and Krukow only
worked every few days as a starting pitcher, they would huddle
on the bench and provide an inning or two of impromptu,
comedy-filled commentary. "We would make sure to include anybody
who was around us in our play-by-play, too," says Krukow.
"Especially this one guy, Ricky Adams, who was the 25th man on
the team. By the end of every broadcast we had somehow made him
into the next Babe Ruth. He loved it."

Now Kipe and Kruke are making their audience laugh as one of the
top local baseball broadcast teams in the country. (Dish owners
can sample their telecasts on DirecTV and DISH Network.) "People
respond to them because they're totally natural on the air,"
says Jon Miller, who also does Giants radio and TV in addition
to ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. "A lot of former players can't
do that."

The two have divergent broadcasting personalities. Play-by-play
man Kuiper, 51, has a fluid, deadpan delivery and what Miller
calls "that booming John Wayne voice." In addition to being a
sharp analyst, Krukow, 49, who had a 124-117 record in 13 major
league seasons, is the clown, a bit of a homer who isn't afraid
to rib his partner. "When you have one home run in 12 seasons,"
says Krukow, alluding to Kuiper's power number, "the door is
wide, wide open."

Early in a recent broadcast from Pac Bell Park of a Giants' game
against the Diamondbacks, Krukow focused on a key factor to
watch: San Francisco starter Livan Hernandez's fastball. "If the
velocity is between 86 and 88 [mph], it sets up all his other
pitches," Krukow said. "If the velocity is down at 84, it can be
a tough night for him."

Hernandez's first two fastballs clocked in at 88, and he went on
to pitch seven innings of two-hit ball in a 1-0 Giants win. The
tight game didn't curtail the pair's comedy shtick, which
featured a running commentary on a child in the stands wearing
his glove on his head. "His parents will have to have that
removed when he's six," said Krukow.

Although both could easily work national games, they're content
to stay by the Bay. "I'm having too much fun," says Krukow. "I
know I'm going to go to work every day and laugh my ass off 10
times. What could be better than that?"


Deadpan Duane Kuiper and mirthful Mike Krukow began their
broadcast act as Giants.