The moment Duane Kuiper surprised Kruk before the game 👏 pic.twitter.com/RHM0mYffMo
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 25, 2021
The Giants might have lost to the Pirates 10-2 on Saturday, but for Mike Krukow, it was the best game of the season.
That’s because his partner, Duane Kuiper, made his long-awaited return to the broadcast booth, surprising Kruk after around seven-weeks away while he received chemotherapy treatment.
“Well it caught me completely by surprise, because we had been anticipating at some point this season that he was going to be able to come back but we just didn’t know when,” Krukow said on “Papa and Lund” Monday. “We didn’t think it was going to be anytime soon to be quite honest.
“When he walked through the door and I saw him it just stunned me and I was so overwhelmed. You don’t really appreciate somebody or something until it’s been taken away from you. Then when we got him back, albeit for a couple of games just for now, it just felt so wonderful and I was just so happy because he had to be feeling better to come back and this is what we’ve all been hoping for.
“It was an emotional thing not just for Jon (Miller) and Dave (Flemming) and Darren Chan, we were all just overwhelmed.”
Even the typically stoic Kuiper couldn’t help being overwhelmed himself when the Giants fans treated him to a standing ovation on Sunday.
Duane Kuiper was shown on the video board between innings and was met with a huge ovation from the crowd. pic.twitter.com/MGLvhXAMVN
— KNBR (@KNBR) July 25, 2021
“He’s this old, tough, Dutch farmer,” Krukow said of Kuip. “He’s always been that way. When we were playing, he never complained, ever. You never knew if he hurt, even though you anticipated that he did cause he just got drilled in a bad spot, never a peep. That’s just the way he was as a player and that’s the way he is as a person, and he doesn’t complain about this.
“Then yesterday when they showed his picture up on the jumboscreen in centerfield and everybody got up and there was an ovation that was so heartfelt. That got him. That absolutely got him. Rare that you see him lock up but it got to him. It was just a great weekend.”
Kuiper’s return was a milestone on its own, but so was his first home run call on Saturday, one that sounded like he had never left.
Man, it feels good to hear Kuip on the call again.
— KNBR (@KNBR) July 25, 2021
“I told him afterwards, ‘Great call, partner.’ That got me too. We’ve been doing these shows, “Kruk and Kuip Show”, and we pre-record them. We’ll do three if it’s a three-game series, four if it’s a four-game series, and by the time we are getting to the last show of pre-recording, he’s starting to lose his voice and he just didn’t have the strength. So it was a concern and we obviously knew he was being challenged physically.
“The last week he started to get stronger. But I know it was in the back of his mind if he could do a full nine innings. And so when he got that call on Saturday and he nailed it, I looked over at him and he looked at me and that was a hurdle that he overcame. And we both knew that it was a significant accomplishment from his perspective. And yesterday he gets four home runs, and each one got better than the other. It was just so cool.”
Krukow also gave us an idea of what the near future looks like for Kuiper and his treatment.
“Tomorrow he starts his third month of chemo and the first session is about an eight-hour session. It’s a rough one. Then the next couple days after that he’s banged up. He said ‘I’m just going to have to wait and see how I feel coming into the weekend.’ It’s going to be a wait and see deal.
“He’ll do chemo for three weeks every Tuesday and then on the fourth week of the month he gets it off. That was the situation this last week, he had it off. So he had a chance to really regroup. What’s been really evident is the chemo is helping. The pain he had earlier, it’s minimized. He’s getting better. Much better than it was. You can feel it and hear it in his voice.
“Plus, he had a cheeseburger. That in itself is another glorious accomplishment.”
Listen to the full interview below.