Giants

Mike Krukow reacts to Buster Posey possibly opting out of 2020 MLB season

Mike Krukow reacts to Buster Posey possibly opting out of 2020 MLB season

This is what Mike Krukow expected. The Giants broadcaster expected some baseball players to test positive for the coronavirus, he expected some hiccups and he expected some players to opt-out of the 60-game season. 

All have been true so far. A handful of players have decided to take this season off as the virus still runs rampant throughout the country. One of the Giants' best players could add his name to that list, too. 

Giants catcher Buster Posey said Saturday he hasn't decided yet if he 100 percent will play this season. 

"He's a guy who's made his name in the game, and he's got little ones at home and there a lot of things he's weighing in regards to the safety of his family," Krukow said Monday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show. "I think he thinks of that first.

"I know that he also feels an enormous obligation to this city, to this franchise and to his teammates." 

Posey showed up to Summer Camp late due to personal reasons. On Saturday, he spoke passionately about the state of baseball and trying to play in the middle of a pandemic. 

"I think there's still some reservation on my end as well," Posey said to reporters. "I think I want to see kind of how things progress here over the next couple of weeks. I think it would be a little bit maybe naive or silly not to gauge what's going on around you, not only around you here but paying attention to what's happening in the country and different parts of the country.

"Obviously it's unprecedented times right now. Most definitely I've thought about [opting out] and talked about it with my wife quite a bit."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Krukow believes Posey couldn't have said it any better. The three-time champion and former NL MVP is the face of the Giants and one of the voices of baseball. He's about as respected as they come, and his voice is needed right now. 

"I think he voiced it beautifully, and I think he spoke for most ballplayers that we're all concerned," Krukow said. "I think he wants to see some of the speed bumps ironed out, so there is a better understanding what there is in that clubhouse every day." 

Giants manager Gabe Kapler fully supports whatever decision Posey ultimately makes, and that's exactly how it should be. Posey doesn't owe a thing to the Giants or their fans. The same goes for any other player, whether they're a star or fighting for a roster spot. 

[RELATED: Posey, Belt face inevitable risk amid coronavirus pandemic]

Krukow is right in that Posey spoke for all baseball players with his comments. There are concerns, and they aren't going away easily. This is a personal choice with new information coming out daily. 

Whether it's Posey or not, the list of players choosing health, family safety or just a personal decision over money will continue to grow.

Astros getting 'free pass' with no fans in 2020, Mike Krukow believes

Astros getting 'free pass' with no fans in 2020, Mike Krukow believes

It was supposed to be a season of boos for the Houston Astros. After being implicated in a sign-stealing scandal this past offseason that saw Houston's manager and general manager be dismissed and suspended from MLB for the entire 2020 season, the Astros became public enemy No. 1 among the other 29 fanbases around the league.

But the coronavirus pandemic forced MLB to play the 2020 season without fans allowed in the ballpark, eliminating the potential for trash can bangs and vocal criticism throughout Houston's games. Prior to the start of the Giants' three-game series against the Astros at Minute Maid Park, broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper discussed how Houston is benefiting from the lack of MLB spectators.

"I think the Astros get a free pass this year because there's no fans in the stands," Krukow said on Monday's telecast. "I think that's where the abuse would have come from, they'd had signs that would have been creative, entertaining, mean-spirited, but they deserve it, they got caught."

[RELATED: Laureano-Astros brawl reminder for Giants to be responsible]

On the day before the Astros opened up the series against San Francisco, Houston was involved in a bench-clearing brawl with the A's after Oakland outfielder Ramon Laureano and Astros coach Alex Cintrón exchanged words. Laureano had been hit by a pitch three times in the series, and said the Houston coach mentioned his mother during the argument, causing Laureano to charge toward the Astros dugout.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly already received an eight-game suspension after throwing at and taunting multiple Astros hitters, and Laureano likely will be facing discipline as well.

While the Astros won't face any angry fans during the 2020 season, they shouldn't be surprised to see opposing players who were impacted by the sign-stealing expressing their frustrations.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Giants reminded by Ramón Laureano-Astros brawl to be responsible, safe

Giants reminded by Ramón Laureano-Astros brawl to be responsible, safe

MLB teams have spent the last couple of weeks reinforcing their health and safety protocols, and as the Giants embarked on this three-city trip, they made some changes, including to the types of masks that some members of the traveling party were wearing on flights. 

Every move is made with safety in mind, but on the field, it can still be hard to remember the backdrop of this season. That was the case Sunday, when A's outfielder Ramón Laureano charged the Astros dugout after hitting coach Alex Cintron reportedly made a vile comment about his mother. The ensuing fracas was a nightmare image for the league in an age of social distancing. Laureano is expected to get suspended, and Cintron could face a lengthy suspension for taunting a player into the incident.

A day later, as Gabe Kapler prepared for his turn with the Astros, the manager said the brawl was used by the Giants as a kickstart for another discussion about being responsible. He spoke to his large coaching staff Monday.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

"I think it's a reminder to be especially aware and sensitive that right now everybody has their stress levels at their highest, because not only are we combining the stress of a major league baseball season and a modified shortened sprint as it is, but we're also doing it under conditions that we've never seen before," Kapler said. "Just the awareness that we're probably already a little bit emotionally charged will help us stay cool under conditions that would normally force us to move out onto the field. 

"I think most of this is about just a heightened level of sensitivity and awareness that we're already pretty stressed out, and leading with a little bit of empathy and understanding, I think that'll put us in a good spot."

The Giants have already played seven games against the Dodgers without incident and shouldn't have any issues with the Astros. Aside from president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, the former Dodgers GM, they don't have anyone who could have a real beef with the sign-stealing scandal that was the biggest story of this past offseason. 

[RELATED: Minor trade is milestone moment for front office]

Some players have said it's extremely easy to hear conversations and expletives in these games being played without fans. The Astros have already had benches-clearing incidents with the Dodgers and A's, but Kapler said he hadn't heard anything thus far that stood out too much. 

"I've seen less jawing with the other team than I would normally see," he said. "There's kind of the same level of interaction with umpires that we've seen in the past. I think one thing that we've been considering is what's the best strategy there, since it's so easy to hear what we're saying to the umpire and to each other in the dugout. Sometimes it has to do with just kind of dialing our voices down a little bit."