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Duane Kuiper says he wants a retired umpire in the radio booth this weekend



© Darren Yamashita | 2020 Aug 1

Baseball is going to look a little different this year.

For the first time ever, MLB is implementing this season: a 15 second pitch clock, rules banning the defensive shift, a limit to the amount of pickoffs that can be thrown and larger bases.

While the rule changes will be easy to grasp for some, for traditionalists who have covered a game that has remained basically unchanged for decades, it’s enough to throw a wrench in things. That’s why Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper is asking for a little assistance in the radio booth this weekend for the team’s Cactus League opener.

“I want a retired umpire in our booth so I can say to him after an umpire makes a call, one of these new rules calls, where I can say to him, ‘Hey! What the hell is going on down there?’” Kuiper said with a chuckle. “And then they would explain everything so I don’t have to. That’s what I want.”

Of course, there’s a safe bet that any recently retired umpires might be just as confused as Kuiper and partner Mike Krukow by some of the changes.

“I’ll bet Eddie Montague doesn’t know half the new rules to be honest with you,” Kuiper said in response to host Brian Murphy’s suggestion to have the former umpire in the booth. “He would have to prove to me that he knows them in and out.”

It’s less the rules that will be hard to understand, but rather all the things to keep track of, including what the punishments are for breaking the new rules. If the 15-second pitch clock is not adhered to by the pitcher, it will result in a ball. If the batter doesn’t get back in the box after eight seconds, it will result in a strike.

For the pickoff rule, pitchers can only do two per at-bat. If they choose to do a third pickoff attempt, they must get the base runner out or else be called for a balk.

“It doesn’t have to be a former umpire, it can be some young guy that just knows the rules,” Kuiper said about having another voice in the booth. “Mike and I are trying like crazy to get them all down, and I’m sure Jon is doing his best to try and get them. We’re just gonna try to not make it an issue, but have everybody understand that this is all new to us too.”

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.