Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Duane Kuiper Is The Best

I am still not sure I really saw what I saw in the Giants' epic, gut-wrenching 14-inning loss in Denver.

I watched the Giants hang on by their fingernails until the top of the 14th, then score 3 runs to take a 4-1 lead. I saw smiles and high-fives in the visitors dugout. And then I stuck around to watch the bottom of the 14th.

Rockies fans are still pinching themselves, because their team scored 5 runs, winning the game on a grand-slam homer by Ryan Spilborghs. Nearly 5 hours of baseball, all ending in the time it took that ball to reach the rightfield fence.

A stunning gut-punch, and a two-game swing in the standings.

But in the midst of all the drama and despair, there was Duane Kuiper. The Giants' TV announcer said it all in 6 words.

As Spilborghs' blast headed into the Colorado night, Kuiper intoned, "This is not good, folks."

As Spilborghs sprinted toward a happy dogpile at the plate, he added the only thought that made any sense: "Unbelievable". And that was it.

Genius. Hemingway couldn't have written it any tighter.

TV is full of people who talk too much and say too little. It's also full of former jocks who add nothing but their names to the broadcast.

Duane Kuiper is a gem: a Midwestern kid who made the big leagues as a player, and is now, for my money, among the best in the business of describing the game he once played.

Even in a game like this one--maybe especially in a game like this one--Kuiper's understated style and appreciation for the vast open spaces (physically and metaphysically) of baseball make him a Bay Area treasure.

Thanks for making it hurt a little less, Kuip.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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