Saturday, August 2, 2008

TBG's Sounds of Summer: San Francisco Giants

Game: San Francisco Giants at Oakland A's
Date: June 29
Network: Comcast SportsNet

Play-by-Play: Duane Kuiper
Color Commentator: Mike Krukow
Token Broad Not Allowed in the Booth: Amy Gutierrez

Even though the Giants are the "natural rivals" of my A's, I've always been indifferent towards them. They've got the
best looking ballpark of any I've been to and I've enjoyed watching several of their players over the years. That said, most A's fans loathe the pretentious chardonnay sippers from the other side of the Bay and are in no way represented by those goofy split caps with both team's logos. OK, maybe I do hate 'em a little. On the plus side, every Barry Zito start makes a bit of my bile evaporate.

Chemistry: When a broadcast team is anointed with their own
bobblehead dolls, it's easy to concede that the chemistry component is there. Kuiper and Krukow have been together – first, as teammates, then as broadcast partners – for 25 years and there aren't many two-man booths who work as well together. Kuiper loosely plays the straight man, while Krukow's schtick walks along the cusp of corny without ever being too unbearable...for long. There was a surprising amount of dead air between the two, but I can't say I'd want them talking more than they do. Grade: 9/10

Knowledge: Krukow did a fine job of comparing/contrasting A's starter Joe Blanton's pitching motion in the wind-up vs. the stretch. In fact, he made several salient points all afternoon on the subject of pitching mechanics. Before the game, he called Joe Blanton "the best 4-10 pitcher in the league" which barely makes sense even if you consider that Blanton was the only 4-10 pitcher in the league. Krukow also made two predictions during the game which were spot-on: (1) he thought the home plate umpire's strike zone would expand as the game went along (it did) and (2) after Giants DH John Bowker took a called strike, Krukow (in so many words) said Bowker would rake the next pitch. OK, it was two pitches later, but he doubled in two runs. Kuiper referred to A's OF Carlos Gonzalez as "Carlos Gomez" before someone in the truck corrected him. Grade: 8/10

Enthusiasm: In the 2nd inning, morbidly obese Giants catcher
Bengie Molina made a nice catch in foul territory (his bosom, in fact, may still be jiggling). Kuiper immediately called this the "play of the day". In the 2nd inning! Krukow's various catchphrases get old really quick ("Grab some pine, meat!" after a strikeout), but I guess I can't fault them in this category. Grade: 8/10

Bar Stool Q: They've got a lot going for them, as Kuiper and Krukow probably know the best spots to get a beer in my favorite American city. While watching both men broadcast, I can't help but think that when the camera's off, these guys can bring the blue humor, too. I guess I'm obligated to hold the whole "Giants" thing against them. Then again, I like chardonnay. Grade: 7/10

Camera/Production: Amy Gutierrez, girl interviewer, has this weird "T" shape thing going on with the connection of her nose to her brow. I wouldn't mention this insensitive and chauvinistic remark if she hadn't talked over an out. Part of the onscreen "scouting report" graphic on Joe Blanton included his favorite food (biscuits n' gravy) and his favorite movie (Dumb & Dumber). The San Francisco Chronicle
beat me to the punch, but, yeah…WAY too many crowd shots during the game. Grade: 4/10

Homerism: I'd put Krukow just outside of the Rex Hudler/Hawk Harrelson solar system. Let's call him only moderately obnoxious, as his cheerleading comes in fits and spurts without being a game-long ordeal. Kuiper can be a bit of screamer, but even as the Giants were annihilating the A's and Joe Blanton, he kept his celebrating under control. Grade: -7.5

Commerciality: The Giants' in-house "What Would a Gamer Do" campaign is
pretty damn clever (even if "gamer" is lazy lexicon for "terrible ballplayer"). The good people at Comcast cable air "30 second timeout" spots that ostensibly tie to whatever team is playing at the moment. I mention this because someone with Comcast needs to know that the neither team in this game was the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League.

AFLAC Trivia Question: "Who is the only player to play for both the A's and Giants and record an RBI against both teams?" (My answer: Rajai Davis; Correct answer: Brent Mayne) 1 for 2

Final Grade: 28.5

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