Mike Krukow

Giants' Mike Krukow recounts amazing Pete Rose brawl story from MLB career

Giants' Mike Krukow recounts amazing Pete Rose brawl story from MLB career

MLB players being involved in a brawl at some point during their careers is like a right of passage.

Giants broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper recently recounted some of their favorite in-game fight stories, including Krukow being egged on by an iconic player during his days playing with the Chicago Cubs.

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“The [Philadelphia] Phillies bring in this pitcher named Kevin Saucier,” Krukow tells NBC Sports Bay Area’s Amy Gutierrez. “He decides he’s gonna take somebody down, so he hits Steve Ontiveros, our third baseman, who was a really good friend.

“So the inning ends and I tell our catcher ‘first 0-2 count, we’ll take whoever it is,’ meaning whoever is coming up, if they get an 0-2 count, they’re getting drilled.”

Krukow was due to lead off the next half-inning, and Saucier -- as is customary in these traditional baseball beefs -- hit Krukow with the first pitch. But after he got to first base, Saucier’s actions brought the two to blows.

“Kevin Saucier walks halfway from the mound to first base and he spits at me,” Krukow said. “Pete Rose is the first baseman for the Phillies, he goes ‘You can’t let him do that, go kick his a--!’ So I go ‘Yeah!’”

[RELATED: Tyler Heineman's path to Giants began in unlikely fashion at UCLA]

Krukow got one punch in before a swarm of Phillies surrounded him and got their own licks in.

All of this also is happening while Krukow’s wife is in the hospital after giving birth the day before. 

No matter who won the fight, Krukow certainly won the war. Not only did he throw a two-hitter through seven innings, but Krukow hit his first MLB home run that day, the at-bat before his run-in with Saucier.

It’s hard to imagine Krukow has had a more memorable 48 hours in his professional life.

Michael Jordan's baseball career hurt by two factors, Mike Krukow says

Michael Jordan's baseball career hurt by two factors, Mike Krukow says

When Michael Jordan announced he was going to play baseball in 1994, Mike Krukow had the same reaction as everyone else. 

When he said I wanna play baseball, I was like 'What?!'" Krukow said Monday morning on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show.

Jordan's first and only season playing Double-A baseball for the Birmingham Barons was Krukow's first as a full-time broadcaster for the Giants. Krukow was only five years removed from his last season in San Francisco and knew exactly what would hinder Jordan the most on the field. 

It wasn't just his lack of experience or the fact that he hadn't played baseball in at least 14 years, dating back to high school. Actually, it was the star shooting guard's body. Jordan was built perfectly to dominate for the Chicago Bulls, not the Chicago White Sox. 

"He didn't have the body for baseball," Krukow said. "You look at him get in the batter's box and he was tall and had long arms and if you're pitching against a guy like that, you're gonna pound him in. He is not gonna see anything out over the plate where he can hurt ya. 

"I thought the challenge would be insurmountable just because of his body type." 

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Jordan is 6-foot-6 and weighed 216 pounds, perfect to defend anybody on the hardwood and leap through the sky. His length could hurt him as a hitter in baseball, though. It wasn't easy for him to keep his elbows in and consistently have a short swing to the ball. 

Krukow believes that wasn't the only obstacle for Jordan as a hitter, too. 

"When he got over to the White Sox, they immediately gave him a hitting coach who was an established hitting coach," Krukow said. "... I think they should have just left him alone to let him figure things out alone before they threw this extreme batting philosophy at him. I think that set him back.

"And really, I think that eventually took him down."

Jordan remarkably started his Double-A career with a 13-game hitting streak. And then pitchers began throwing him curveballs. He finished the year batting just .202 with a lowly .556 OPS and struck out 114 times in 127 games. 

[RELATED: How A's, Giambi error played role in MJ's baseball career]

Mike Barnett was Jordan's hitting coach in Birmingham and the two worked tirelessly together, but Krukow said the coach had an "unorthodox style" that didn't do MJ any favors. More than anything, the former Giants pitchers called Jordan a "great ambassador for the game" with how he treated teammates, coaches, field workers and those behind the scenes. 

Despite his reservations, Krukow gained a great deal of admiration for Jordan.

"I didn't think he really had a chance to make it to the big leagues because of how tall he was and how long his arms were, but my respect when up," Krukow said. "He left being the best guy in the world [at basketball] and he exposed himself to ridicule and criticism and he didn't care.

"He loved the game of baseball, and I always admired that about him." 

Brandon Belt is carrying competitive Giants in MLB The Show simulation

Brandon Belt is carrying competitive Giants in MLB The Show simulation

No Giant has lit up the talk radio phone lines more than Brandon Belt over the past decade, but in the PlayStation world, least, the Belt Wars appear to be over. 

NBC Sports Bay Area has been simulating the Giants season and it's actually going pretty well. Entering Friday's game against the White Sox, which aired at 7 p.m. with Kruk and Kuip providing the commentary, the Giants are 20-17. That's considerably better than the preseason projections, and a lot of it is because of Belt. 

Through 37 simulated games, Virtual Brandon Belt is hitting .364 with 12 homers. He ranks fourth in the league in average, home runs and total hits (47). While the real Belt is still looking for his first 20-homer season, it's not too out-of-character that he's off to such a hot start. Belt has hit his most homers in May, followed by April, and he has had some promising campaigns wrecked by midseason injuries. 

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Hopefully that's not the case in the PlayStation world -- and it's never a bad idea to accidentally restart the console when one of your key players gets hurt. You can watch Belt take on the White Sox tonight, along with some other virtual Giants who are off to hot starts.

Buster Posey and Wilmer Flores have five homers apiece and Mike Yastrzemski has six in a bid for a second 20-homer season. The game seems to be a believer that the Giants will hit for more power, as team executives have predicted in real life. Eight players are on pace to reach double-digits and four are on pace for 20 bombs. 

[RELATED: Panik recalls end of Giants career]

The pitching side is where it has gotten away from the Virtual Giants. While Jeff Samardzija has a 2.81 ERA and Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly have pitched reasonably well, Johnny Cueto has a 6.60 ERA in eight starts. In the bullpen, most of the numbers are high, but Trevor Gott (1.61 ERA) and Jarlin Garcia (2.12) have been dominant. 

Gausman is the starter against the Virtual White Sox. He's 2-0 with a 4.38 ERA.