August 06, 2005

Krueger Rant Lands KNBR Host In Hot Water

WARNING! Much of the following has very little to do with radio. Read on at your own peril.

I've never been a huge fan of KNBR's Larry Krueger, and it all goes back to his use of the "V" word.


Larry KruegerKrueger used to drive me bats by pronouncing "versus" as "vurz," as in "Today it'll be the Giants vurz the Dodgers, and later this evening it'll be Kansas City vurz the A's."

It drove me nuts, so I eventually began tuning him out. On Wednesday evening, however, as my wife and I drove back across the Bay Bridge after watching another lackluster, listless, frustrating performance by the Giants, I kept the radio on KNBR as Krueger (photo, right) began his Sportsphone 680 program with the promise of a rant.

What kept me tuned in was that he mentioned, among other things, he'd be discussing a subject that has been a particular pet peeve of mine for several seasons. As it turns out, that subject became Topic B.

Topic A during his rant about the struggling Giants became Krueger's use of the "C" word:


Quoting Krueger, "I just cannot watch this brand of baseball any longer. A truly awful, pathetic, old team that only promises to be worse two years from now. It's just awful. It really is bad to watch. Brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly."

I heard him say it, and I immediately questioned why he had to drop the "C" word in there. It was absolutely uncalled for.

All of the Giants hitters are brain dead, and they hack at slop regardless of whether it's a day game or a night game. The Giants are an awful, undisciplined, underachieving team that fails to do the small but important fundamental things right on a regular basis. And that's the fault of the manager, Felipe Alou.

I am a huge Giants fan, and I've been a fan of Felipe Alou since I was a kid. He has proven one thing this season: without Barry Bonds bailing the team out with his big bat night after night, Alou — a genuinely good man — has suddenly become a bad manager this year, and the Giants are a bad team as a result.

After learning about Krueger's remarks on Friday afternoon — that's right, it took two days for this controversy to trickle up the food chain — Alou responded by calling a meeting of the team's "seven Latin players in uniform," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I'm going to make sure that it is known worldwide," the Chronicle quoted Alou, who was born in the Dominican Republic and began his baseball career with the Giants in 1958. "I had zero means when I was a 20-year-old kid in Louisiana, but I'm 70 now. I have the means now to identify people like that. They're going to know in my country tonight. (Even) the president of my country."

Of the six Latin American players I counted on the Giants' active roster, each can claim "Caribbean" ancestry; Moises Alou (Felipe's son, born in Atlanta, Ga.), Pedro Feliz and Deivi Cruz (both of whom were born in the Dominican Republic) can claim direct links. Yamid Haad (Colombia), Omar Vizquel and Edgardo Alfonzo (both from Venezuela) are from South American countries that border the Caribbean. (I'm not certain who the seventh player is.)

"I never heard of anything like that here," Alou continued. "I heard them in the South and some other cities, but not here. It tells me that a man like me and the Latin guys have to be aware it's not over yet, or it is coming back."

No word whether Alou planned on calling a meeting of the team's "awful, pathetic, old" players, who may not have received word yet of Krueger's attack on them.

KNBR has suspended Krueger until August 15, according to a press release on the station's website. "It was not my intention to offend or demean any group or individual with the Giants. I am sorry to those I may have offended and rest assured, there was no malice intended," the release quotes Krueger as saying.

The length of Krueger's suspension is one day more than the penalty Major League Baseball imposed upon Cuban-born Rafael Palmeiro, who violated baseball's steroid policy.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the main reason why I continued to listen to Krueger on Wednesday night: he later launched into a diatribe about the predilection of the Giants' TV broadcasts to focus on little boys as they eat ice cream cones and hot dogs throughout the game. It's almost as if the ballgame gets in the way of the director making sure that viewers don't miss every moment of some kid eating something somewhere in the stands.

And it goes on all game long. You may not get to see that the infield is swung around to the right, or that the outfield is playing in, but you sure get to see little Bobby in Section 136 eating every last bite of that ice cream cone.

"That's it, Camera 1! Get me a tight shot of Bobby! That's it, kid, eat that cone," I can imagine the director saying. "Wait, here's a pitch. Okay, Camera 2, get me a two-shot of Bobby and his dad. There it is! Okay, hang on. There's another pitch. Back to Bobby — take the close-up! Camera 3, a kid in Section 225 just got a hot dog. Get over there, quick!"

At least, that's the way the voices in my head make it sound...

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