BIOGRAPHY: Duane Kuiper, an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, begins his 21st season as a Major League announcer. He embarks on his 12th consecutive year in the FSN Bay Area, KTVU-FOX 2 and KNBR Radio broadcast booths in 2005. The former
 
11-year big league infielder received the first local Emmy Award of his distinguished broadcasting career in the category of "On Camera Sports" in 1999, and won the prestigious award in 2001 and 2003.

He provided commentary for the Giants from 1987-92 and served a one-year stint with the expansion Colorado Rockies in 1993. For the third straight year, "Kuip" and his FSN Bay Area partner, Mike Krukow, provide play-by-play and color commentary for the EA Sports video game "MVP Baseball."

The former infielder spent the last four years of his career with the Giants, following seven campaigns with the Cleveland Indians. In 2004 he was voted by Cleveland fans as one of the 100 greatest players in Tribe history.

After retiring in 1985, Kuiper provided commentary on Giants radio and TV broadcasts through the end of that season, and had his own radio show on KNBR from 1982-85.

The Wisconsin native serves as a board member of the Giants Community Fund. A graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL, Kuiper and his wife, Michelle, reside in Danville with their two children, Cole and Dannon.
 

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MVP BASEBALL BROADCASTERS ARE HUGE AT HOME
 
Kuiper, Krukow Score Points with Their Kids
By Dustin Shekell


Cole 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 diamond.

“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 stick.

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 wouldn’t happen.

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 choice.

“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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DUANE KUIPER INTERVIEW

Giants announcer talks playoffs, MVP Baseball 2004
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 Bonds.

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 your son?

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 game.

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 game?

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 the day?

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 game.

 
   
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