FORMER major league baseball player John Kruk said he had wanted to cover the Women's College World Series for several years, but executives at ESPN thought he was joking.
During a golfing outing this month with Norby Williamson, an ESPN senior vice president, Kruk brought up the topic again. Finally, he said, Williamson finally took him seriously and granted him his wish to come to Oklahoma City to cover the tournament. "I absolutely love it,” he said. "I've watched every year I could.” Kruk, an analyst for ESPN's "Baseball Tonight” and occasional game commentator, made his debut Thursday night, broadcasting two games with play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins, analyst Jessica Mendoza and field reporter Holly Rowe. Kruk said his ESPN colleagues have kidded him about his weeklong WCWS schedule, which includes two telecasts a day the first four days. "They said, ‘You're going to go crazy,'” he said. "I said, ‘No, I'm not. It's new and it's fast-paced, so it's exciting.' If I had two major-league games a day for seven days, I'd jump off a bridge.” Kruk has become an unabashed ambassador for softball, preferring it over the slower-paced baseball, and even showed a softball tape to his "Baseball Tonight” colleagues. "To me it's the right way that baseball was supposed to be played,” he said.
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John Kruk is in the broadcast booth for ESPN's coverage of the Women's College World Series. BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN