The San Francisco Giants start their season in just eight days. Mind you, eight days is approximately nine years away, but still: There will be Giants baseball, live in your living room, on July 23.
As I find my enthusiasm brewing for a season that I still don’t think should happen, I realize that I’m excited to hear the soothing tones of Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow as much as anything that will actually happen on the diamond.
Is that because the Giants project to be a bad team, and most of their prospects will be developing in Sacramento rather than playing in the games? Sure, that’s part of it.
But it’s also because of Kruk and Kuip. As I gear up for not just the return of baseball, but also basketball (in both NBA and WNBA form), I find myself pining the most for baseball, largely because of the comfort it affords. It’s soothing. It’s cathartic.
I’m not sure if you’ve missed ... uhh ... literally everything ... but most of us could use some catharsis right about now.
So yes. As I search for comfort in the form of a baseball game, I find myself more eager to hear Kruk and Kuip provide my apartment with a soundtrack than to watch Tyler Heineman try to hit a Justin Verlander breaking ball.
The coronavirus pandemic is throwing some metaphorical curveballs at teams as they try to figure out how to do broadcasts, but broadcasts will still happen, as normal as is possible. For the Giants that means Kruk and Kuip at Oracle Park ... even when the team isn’t there.
According to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic, Kruk and Kuip will broadcast the full season from the team’s home park. MLB’s safety protocols only allow for radio broadcasts to accompany the team on road games, so the Giants superstar TV duo will rely on monitors to show them the 30 road games.
They have a head start on preparations, though. Due to health issues, Krukow was already planning on broadcasting more than 20 road games remotely.
Even for home games, things will be unique. While Kruk and Kuip get to watch the game in person, they won’t be sharing a broadcast booth. Kuiper will remain in his standard spot, while Krukow will move to Willie McCovey’s booth next door. The reasoning is simple: if one of the duo contracts the coronavirus, then everyone in their booth will need to be quarantined. If they’re separated, then one can continue broadcasting even if the other has to step away for a while.
Sideline reporter Amy Gutierrez won’t be at the ballpark, but she will still be doing her duties at home games. She’ll be stationed at the NBC Sports Bay Area studio downtown, and since she’ll still be able to interview players remotely, she can pepper in the same details and anecdotes as in most years.
The broadcasts won’t be normal, but they’ll still be a return to normalcy of sorts. That, more than anything, is what I can’t wait for.