Share “Collected Wisdom: John Kruk”

By Mike Baldwin Published: June 1, 2008
John Kruk was a career .300 hitter over 10 Major League Baseball seasons. These days, Kruk is a baseball analyst for ESPN. He's in Oklahoma City as a Women's College World Series analyst.

I love softball. I've always liked it. I've watched it for years. I like their competitive nature, and they have fun doing it. I've been after ESPN for a few years to let me do this. They realized I was serious and finally let me do it this year.

The Women's College World Series is even better in person than I thought it would be. Look at this beautiful stadium. When you watch it on TV you don't get the full feel for the atmosphere and just how beautiful a place this is.

Softball players' chants are for their own team. They're cheering for their hitter, their pitcher, whoever. In baseball, the chants sometimes are directed towards the opposition. That's where you draw the line.

I had no problem with what the (Washington) Nationals were doing (chanting). They were just having fun. They're not a good team. They were on a losing streak. They had a chance to end the streak and were having fun. If you don't like it, beat 'em.

Joba Chamberlain's emotional reaction, I would have said, doesn't need to happen 15 years ago. But you watch all these hitters stand and watch home runs and prance around the bases like a 7-footer who dunks in basketball, like they've done the greatest thing in the world. I don't blame the pitchers for wanting to show some emotion. Hitters have been showing them up for years. If the hitters don't like it, get a hit.

Nine million times I've been asked about my at-bat in the (1993) All Star game against Randy Johnson. (After the Big Unit sailed a 98 mph over Kruk's head, Kruk patted his chest over his heart and weakly swung at the next three pitches). It was a spur of the moment thing. I just tried to have some fun in an exhibition game. That's basically all it was. It was no big deal.

Baseball is getting back to the way it's supposed to be played. They're bunting more, stealing more bases.

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