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One typical December morning, Kruk and Kuip spoke by phone around 8. “I talked to him again at noon, and then talked to him again at 5,” Kuiper said. “At that point, my wife looked at me and she said, ‘Are you guys sleeping together?'”
A good day for Kruk and Kuip comes with a Giants win and at least a half-dozen “horselaughs,” as Krukow calls them. These are a reaction to many things: a new catchphrase, a hilarious fan shot on TV, memories.
One year, Kuiper and his wife, Michelle, took up in-line skating. The Giants had an upcoming road trip. “So I tell Mike, “Look, I’m gonna take my Rollerblades to Chicago and we’ll go,'” Kuiper said. Krukow, who collects life experiences the way some people collect art, had never in-line skated.
“We’re going down Lake Shore Drive,” Krukow said. “He’s doing figure eights and pirouetting, going backwards. And I don’t even know how to stop!” Krukow then made the sound of a man careening out of control: “Ahhhhhhhh….Ahhhhhhhh…..”
“He was going round and round, like a helicopter!” Kuiper said. “You know how you see a center fielder going to make a diving catch — he was that high off the ground. He went down right on his side.” Krukow had two cracked ribs.
“The next year, we’re going by the same spot, and he had taped it off, like it was homicide!” Krukow said. “A–hole. I was black and blue from my belly button all the way down to my knees, and he tapes off the scene! What a d—. Now every time we go by there it’s like, ‘Hey, that’s the spot where Kruk fell.'”
Dropping into Kruk and Kuip’s world — filled with baseball and music and horselaughs — you feel as if you want to stay awhile, maybe even move in. But the longer you stay, you see that there are deeper forces at work. And you realize that, as the Giants return to the postseason, their most gripping story isn’t on the field. It’s up in the broadcast booth, where, with humor and grace, Krukow, one of the most popular and enduring figures in franchise history, is fighting an epic battle that threatens the two things that — besides his family — give him more pleasure than anything else in life: playing music and broadcasting San Francisco Giants baseball.
All with a little help from his friend.