Twentieth in a series.
Broadcast: San Francisco Giants on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, Arizona at Giants, 7/27/08; Announcers: Duane Kuiper (play-by-play), Mike Krukow (analyst), Amy Gutierrez (reporter, 7th woman on the reporter’s beat)
The highlight of this game for the announcers came in the first inning. Arizona’s Randy Johnson began his windup when a horn suddenly blared from a boat sitting out in the waters of McCovey Cove. Johnson seemed startled, seemed to shorten his windup and just sort of lobbed the ball softly to home plate -- for a called strike on San Francisco’s Fred Lewis. The unintentional “eephus pitch” delighted Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. They referred to it a number of times the rest of the day and it was replayed several times.
It’s a good thing because it wasn’t a particularly thrilling game. Krukow expected a low-scoring game with Johnson and Barry Zito as the starters. Though both have struggled this year, both had pitched well in recent starts (five for Zito, three for Johnson). Johnson continued his good stretch, with seven shutout innings despite allowing 9 hits. However, Zito lost it in the 4th and gave up six runs in the 4th and 5th innings as the Diamondbacks went on to a 7-2 win.
Kuiper and Krukow are both former major leaguers and have been broadcasting Giants games together for a long time. They have good chemistry and get along well, and are able to explain the game and have some fun doing it. When the Giants’ Lewis stole third base (after having stolen second) Krukow pointed out that neither of the middle infielders made any attempt to try and keep Lewis close, and that Johnson’s delivery to the plate is so slow that catcher Chris Snyder had no chance to throw out Lewis at third. He then added: “I think he (Snyder) wants to call timeout and yell to everybody in the stands, ‘It’s not my fault.’ And it isn’t.”
The fun they were having (Krukow in particular) wasn’t too overbearing, but at the same time it seemed like the broadcast was catering to their not-so-serious flow -- that is, unless you feel a graphic comparing the height and weight of three Diamondbacks players (the 6-10, 225 lb. Johnson, the 6-11, 290 Jon Rauch and the 6-7, 245 Tony Clark) to the Golden State Warriors’ frontcourt is significant somehow.
Amy Gutierrez was called upon four times, twice for Giants-related information, once for a promo for a charity luncheon commemorating the Giants’ 50th anniversary in San Francisco, and once to mention Goose Gossage’s Hall of Fame induction. The only information related to this particular game was her first report, mentioning Giants players who have good career numbers against Johnson. It was nothing that couldn’t have been brought up by Krukow and Kuiper. It’s just more proof that these “reporters” aren’t really needed. Unless there’s some breaking story (injury news or a trade) there’s really nothing for them to do, and if they’re interacting with the booth it’s usually not an enlightening discussion; they’re not used the way ESPN uses Peter Gammons and Fox uses Ken Rosenthal on their broadcasts.
Perhaps it’s because they’re the newest of the Comcast Sportsnet stations, but CSN Bay Area’s graphics are different than those used in the games from their Chicago and Philadelphia outlets. The Bay Area graphics have a little sharper look, with a shade of blue in the background instead of the plain black-and-white they use elsewhere. It’s a nicer look, and they don’t go overboard with the sound effects either. Grade: B. -- Joe Guckin