Kuiper, Krukow Score Points with Their Kids
By Dustin Shekell
Kuiper finally realizes how cool his dad is.
The 16 year old’s dad, Duane Kuiper, played in the
big leagues for 12 seasons and is currently the San
Francisco Giants’ play-by-play announcer. However,
these major-league credentials were barely enough to
register on his son’s cool-meter.
Now that Duane and his broadcast partner -- former
20-game winning pitcher Mike Krukow -- are the
commentators for EA SPORTS MVP Baseball franchise,
things have changed.
“I was on the bubble of being a cool dad,” said
Kuiper, who had a career .271 batting average while
playing second base for the Cleveland Indians and
Giants. “What put me over the edge is being in the
game. That definitely put me on the map.”
In the Krukow household, Mike and his sons are not
only baseball fans and players, they’re avid sports
gamers. Up until now, the Krukows haven’t had a lot
of fun playing their favorite sport on the virtual
“Baseball games have always had about a 48-hour
window in my house,” said Krukow, the former Giant
and Chicago Cub right-hander. “My sons would always
complain about the realism—they couldn’t break up
double plays or climb the fence to rob a home run.”
That’s all changed in MVP Baseball 2004 with the
addition of EA SPORTS™ Big Play Control, which gives
players the ability to do just those types of
highlight-reel plays with a quick push of the analog
The realism and authenticity are a couple of the
reasons Krukow wanted to be a part of the game. He
said Madden NFL Football is hugely popular in his
house, and the MVP Baseball producers promised him a
similar true-to-life experience for baseball.
“EA wanted to build a baseball game that rivaled
Madden,” Krukow said. “They’ve done it. You can
analyze the swings of the players by watching this
game. It’s that accurate.”
With such huge strides in gameplay, the worst thing
that could happen would be inaccurate or inauthentic
commentary. Kruk and Kuip, as they’re known in the
San Francisco Bay Area, put in some serious time and
effort in the EA recording studio to make sure that
According to the game’s Assistant Producer Ben
Brinkman, Krukow and Kuiper recorded more than
35,000 lines of game dialogue during their two years
working on the game. With the addition of players
from every AAA and AA Minor League team, Kuiper
alone recorded four different versions of more than
3,000 names. Trying to recite 12,000 names correctly
was not Kuiper’s favorite part of the experience.
“The script looks like a New York City phone book,”
Kuiper said. “It’s like going to the dentist and
getting your teeth cleaned. It’s my root canal.”
The benefits of working on such a groundbreaking
game outweigh his problems with pronouncing names,
according to Kuiper, who was boarding a plane with
Krukow a couple years ago when he got the call from
EA offering the job.
“We were literally high-fiving in the aisles of the
plane,” Kuiper said.
They weren’t the only ones excited about the
partnership. According to Brinkman, when EA
reinvented their baseball franchise in 2003, there
was a very short list of possibilities to be the
voices of the game. Because of their enthusiasm for
the sport and the fun they have in the booth, Kruk
and Kuip were at the top of the list.
The long hours Brinkman spent with the guys in the
recording studio proved that EA made the right
“They made the environment very comfortable,”
Brinkman said. “They’re at ease being the joker or
being the center of a joke.”
Duane Kuiper is also comfortable now that he’s
landed his son’s dream job. Cole doesn’t want to
call the big game or play in the Majors—he has
different goals than the average teenager.
“All I’ve heard for the last ten years is how he
wanted to work at EA SPORTS,” Kuiper said. “Not a
fireman, not a ballplayer. He wants to work at EA.”
Watch out, Dad. Someone’s gunning for your job.
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Giants announcer talks playoffs, MVP Baseball
by Jon Robinson
September 29, 2003 - The 2003 playoffs haven't even
begun, but the people at EA Sports already have
their minds on next season. After a breakthrough
launch of their new baseball franchise, MVP Baseball
2003 last Spring, the developers know what they did
right, what they did wrong, and are working around
the clock to deliver the best baseball experience
gamers have ever seen come March.
One of the things they got right was having the duo
of Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper in the virtual booth
as their announce team. The witty banter between the
two former players is priceless, both in the game
and in real life, and for MVP Baseball 2004 you can
expect even more funny comments describing all of
the new gameplay elements like home-plate collisions
and the addition of legendary players form the
Cooperstown Collection like Robin Yount, Willie
McCovey, Mike Schmidt, and Reggie Jackson.
IGN Sports caught up with Kuiper at a recent
recording session for MVP Baseball 2004 to get his
thoughts on the new game, the Giants, and Barry
IGN Sports: What's the recording process like in
these new sessions for MVP Baseball 2004?
Duane Kuiper: It's hard to really tell
day-to-day what you're going to be asked to say. The
names are the ones that I dread the most because a
good percentage of the names I have to say are
players from the minors or players that I've never
heard of. If I have an Achilles heel to anything,
it's pronunciation of names. I'm not really good at
it, so that process can drag on. Today we've done a
number of balls and strikes, balls hit in the gaps,
balls hit in the corner, collisions at the plate,
but we really have tried to stay away from too many
exciting calls, since it would be unfair for me to
lose my voice announcing for the video game and have
nothing left for the next Giants game. I have to be
really careful how I use my voice.
IGN Sports: How was it to hear your voice in the
game last year?
Duane Kuiper: It was cool, but it was cool
because my 16-year-old son had all of his buddies
over and they got into a room, and I was really a
hit in our house for the first time in a long time.
I played almost eleven years in the Major Leagues
and that didn't have any impact on my kids…this did.
Doing the voice for this game put me on the map in
our house, at least for a little while, or until the
next game comes out.
IGN Sports: Did you ever play the game against
Duane Kuiper: I haven't had time to really
play because I'm not going to play unless I have a
chance to beat him. Kids are so good at these games
that it's going to take me some time before I can
compete. I will play him when I can compete with
him, and he knows it. He would like nothing better
than to walk around the house singing "I am the
king!" and I don't want to hear about it. [laughs]
IGN Sports: You're recording by yourself today.
Do you do any recording sessions with Krukow as
well, or is it all recorded separately?
Duane Kuiper: We're together almost half the
time. There are a number of things that we do
together. We probably had five-six sessions last
year where we were together as well. We have a lot
of laughs. That's the thing that Mike and I like to
make sure we do. If we work together, we want to
make sure we have some chuckles, and we definitely
had our share of chuckles doing the voices for the
IGN Sports: Did you ever get any at-bats against
him when you were both playing?
Duane Kuiper: 1-4 with a single. He struck me
out once and he walked me once. He has the ultimate
bragging rights, though, because he hit four more
home runs than me, and he lets me hear about it
four-five times a day.
IGN Sports: You could always create yourself and
put yourself in the lineup as the second baseman for
this year's Giants.
Duane Kuiper: I would like to create myself,
but I'd put myself in as the second baseman for the
Big Red Machine. Take Morgan out and put me in. I
had to play in Ohio the years that the Big Red
Machine were kings and the Indians were like the
Double-A team in Ohio. So I want to go right into
the Big Red Machine and take over second. I actually
think they need to put Mike and I in the game
somewhere. Make us the kings of the game. They're
adding all of the legends into the game, a bunch of
guys from Cooperstown, but I think they need to add
us as well.
IGN Sports: What are some of the intricacies of
baseball that you feel they need to capture in the
Duane Kuiper: I think they already do a great
job. One of the important things to me, is that when
you turn on the game and you want to play at Fenway
Park, they make you feel like you're actually at
Fenway Park. It is fantastic. When you play at Pac
Bell Park, they've created the perfect environment
for baseball inside the game. I actually really like
the pitching part of it. You can work the hitter.
You can do some things to get a guy out. You know,
every year it's only going to get better. I can't
wait until next year when the new game comes out
because as good as people thought last year's game
was, from what I've heard, this year's game is just
going to blow it away. It's fantastic how the games
just continue to advance year after year. We've come
a long way since Pong, I'll put it that way.
IGN Sports: Did you used to play games back in
Duane Kuiper: I went from Pong to Pacman. I
used to sink more quarters into that stupid Pacman…I
was single in those days so anytime I went to a club
or bar and they had Pacman, I would play for hours.
I'm not much of a drinker, but I'd spend more money
playing Pacman at a bar than most of the guys who
went there to drink. I really enjoyed playing games.
IGN Sports: What do you think of the Giants
chances this year for the World Series?
Duane Kuiper: They have really surprised me
this year. I thought they would win, because any
Brian Sabean team is going to go out there and win,
but I'm surprised with the lead they took, and I'm
surprised how well they played within their
division. What they've done to teams in their own
division is just sickening. You think about the
injuries they've had and some of the things that
have happened and it has truly been an amazing
season. Now, after we went through last year and
October, I don't think getting to the playoffs is
enough. This team has to get to the World Series
again, otherwise people around here aren't going to
be very happy. I don't know if I agree with that or
not, but I do know that this team has a great chance
to go a long way.
IGN Sports: What do you think was the single
biggest acquisition they made in the offseason that
contributed to their dominance?
Duane Kuiper: I think last year's team was
really good. I don't think this year's team is any
better than last year's team. Last year's team had
Rob Nenn, this year's team doesn't. I just think the
bullpen has been really sensational. You just hope
that you don't have to use a lot of them in the
postseason. Another thing this team does and will
continue to do is win close games. If you're
involved in the playoffs, every game is going to be
close, so that's a good thing.
IGN Sports: Do you think Barry Bonds is the best
player of all time?
Duane Kuiper: I don't know if he's the best
player ever, but I do know he's the best of our
generation. He's the best player I've ever seen, and
I saw Willie Mays play when I was a kid. If you call
Bonds the best player ever, it might get people
feeling negatively about Mays or Babe Ruth, and I
don't think that's the proper way to do it. I think
you take all these guys, Ted Williams, Joe Dimaggio,
and you place them into a group. There's a Hall of
Fame group and then there's the Super Hall of Fame
group, and that's where Bonds belongs.
IGN Sports: How come when McGwire broke the home
run record, everyone loved him, but Bonds, it's like
people were mad he's the one with the record?
Duane Kuiper: I think Mark McGwire, what he
did hitting 70 home runs was truly amazing. I never
thought that would be broken. I think when Barry was
younger, he had a really chilly relationship with
the fans and with the press, and it's taken him a
long time to get people to change their opinions on
what he's all about. And quite frankly, he doesn't
care. If he doesn't care, then people should realize
that if it's not that big of a deal with him, then
it shouldn't be that big of a deal to us.
IGN Sports: What do you think Pac Bell will be
like if the Cubs face the Giants in the NLCS?
Duane Kuiper: I think it will be the most
exciting seven games anyone has seen in a long time.
The Cubs are really good, and they're the one team
that has a really good shot at beating Atlanta in
the first round. The Braves should be afraid of the
Chicago Cubs because Dusty Baker always gets his
teams ready to go in the middle of August, and this
year has been no exception. It would be fun. That
would be the World Series if it happened. The whole
coaching staff, all the former players, Lofton,
Shawn Estes, Ramon Martinez, Goodwin, they're all
down there and they're all former Giants. It would
be a lovefest before the game, and anything but once
the game started. That's the series baseball needs
to see. I know it's the one I'm looking forward to
if it happens. Like I said, that would be the true
World Series in terms of excitement and rivalry and
that's what baseball is all about. Click on the
media link to hear some of Kuiper's new audio in the