Earlier this week, former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman John Kruk formally joined the Phillies in-game broadcasting team.
Rumors swirled back in December about Kruk’s return, after Matt Stairs was named the Phillies’ new hitting coach, leaving a vacancy at color analyst, a job he shared with Ben Davis. Two months prior, Kruk and ESPN parted ways, after he worked as an analyst for 12 seasons. Kruk now joins Tom McCarthy, Davis, and Mike Schmidt.
The addition of Kruk to the broadcast booth provides a sense of fan attachment the team has lacked since the passing of Harry Kalas back in 2009. While McCarthy has stepped in and done his best, he was never going to be able to follow in Kalas’s footsteps and live up to the situation he inherited.
Over the years, the interest in the television broadcasting team has dipped, leading to social media clamor suggesting that the television and radio broadcasting teams be swapped.
The addition of Kruk also provides a boost of nostalgia on the broadcast team. Kruk marks the seventh color analyst paired with McCarthy as the Phillies hope he provides some much-needed stability in the booth.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Kruk expressed his excitement to be back with the organization. “I’m happy to be back within this organization,” he said.
Kruk spent six seasons with the Phillies and was a key player on the fan-favorite 1993 Phillies team that went to the World Series. While his performance on the field earned him three National League All-Star appearances, it was his antics off the field as a part of Macho Row that made him so endearing to Phillies fans. Stories about Kruk’s locker room behavior was Phillies’ folklore and became indicative of the attitude possessed by the 1993 team.
In August 2011, Kruk became the 33rd player inducted into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame joining other Phillies greats such as Steve Carlton and Jim Bunning. Kruk marked the second player from the 1993 team inducted following Darren Daulton in 2010 and Curt Schilling in 2013.
Kruk adds to a growing anticipation about this young Phillies team. While they might not do much better in the win/loss column this year, the experience Kruk brings to the booth as both a player and analyst will ensure they are more entertaining to watch.
Finally, the move could not have come at a better time for the Phillies front office. With the equipment truck arriving in Clearwater, Florida marking the beginning of a new season. The shift in the broadcasting team marks a new beginning in the fan experience viewing the game.