Thursday, February 16, 2006


Favorite Kuip Moment

I guess I shouldn't write a long love-in about Mike Krukow without properly gushing over Duane Kuiper as well. I think the best part of Kuiper's game calling, all Giants fans would agree, is his awesome home run call. Kuiper's call is amazingly simple yet has an almost unequaled ability to raise the goosebumps. One of the great aspects of being a Giants fan is hearing Kuiper get excited over a home run. When Bonds hits one of his "gone-once-the-ball-leaves-the-pitcher's-hand" home runs, Kuip will break into his usual "High!...Deep!...It is...OUTTA HERE!!!, and as Bonds runs the bases, you just can't help but get revved up.

There are any number of great Duane Kuiper calls, but I have a personal favorite that I'm sure has been long forgotten. Let's flashback to 1998, as the Giants were facing the Phillies at Veterans Stadium in a hotly contested four game series in early August. The Giants had won the first two games by an eyelash and the teams were now squaring off in a Sunday matchup in just gawdawful heat.

In the seventh inning, Ricky Bottalico nailed Bonds on the knee with a pitch that was clearly intentional. Teams had been throwing at Bonds for weeks now, and apparently this shit wasn't going to fly anymore, so Bonds charged the mound and tackled Bottalico. Typical bench-clearing chaos ensued, and Bonds and Bottalico were ejected. When the game resumed, with tempers still flaring, Snow came up and absolutely obliterated a Wayne Gomes (yeah, remember him?) fastball over the right field wall. You knew the ball was gone the second he hit it, and Kuiper went into a smug home run call that I will never, ever forget.

"Snow! He hits it high,, he hits it deep, he hits it WAY OUTTA HERE!."

Snow, normally a good-natured fellow, couldn't resist sticking the Phillies' faces in it, and Kuiper was lovin' it:

"Snow flips his bat high in the air...and he is takin' his time!"

Snow not only took his time, but he acted like an absolute ass, and to this day it's my all-time favorite J.T. Snow moment, even beating out his 2000 playoff home run. As he watched the home run sail over the wall, Snow trotted up the first base line, flipped his bat high in the air, and proceeded to run the bases in a pace barely faster than a walk. The Phils seethed, and the Giants rolled to a 15-3 stomping. Did Snow act unsportsmanlike? Well, yes. Did the Phils deserve it? Abso-fucking-lutely. That's what made that moment so memorable.

Kuiper realized it, too, and his call was dripping with schadenfreude. Out of all of Kuip's great calls, this ranks as the all-time pimple-raiser as far as my memory can trace.

As an addendum, the bad feelings between the Giants and Phils didn't stop there. The next day, with the Giants once again manhandling the Phils, Snow and Gomes faced off once again late in the game. This time, though, Gomes struck Snow out on a breaking ball. As Snow was walking back to the dugout, Gomes furiously charged off the mound like a ruffled peacock and screamed at Snow to "go sit down!" Snow turned around and went after Gomes, the two exchanged some F-bombs, and the benches cleared once again. Order was restored and the Giants ended up winning. It's funny that I remember these two games so vividly, much more vividly than I remember Barry's 71st homer game (in which the same Wayne Gomes played a huge part in the Giants' losing cause), but brawl games are just inherently exciting, no? Especially if it's your team on the winning side, rubbing the dirt in the face of the loser.

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