Being a fairly lazily played game, baseball and food perfectly match up. You're not going to miss much game action as you slather your jumbo hot dog with all the fixings, then proceed to inhale it in a few bites. An empty bag of peanuts or sunflower seeds is as common a sight in a ballpark as the players themselves.
But what about when food and baseball collide away from the playing field? Particularly when this meeting involves one of the great voices of the sport — a voice that's come to define many folks' love of the game. Case in point: When you realize Giants broadcast color man Mike Krukow is sitting with his family at the table next to you at one of San Francisco's top restaurants.
This happened to me a few years ago at La Mar on The Embarcadero. Krukow doesn't know it, but I was eavesdropping — sorry, Mike — in hopes of hearing that unmistakable voice of his out in the wild. Being a lifelong Giants fan, I was raised on the baseball dictionary of Krukow. He's a legend, and his baseball vernacular is unmatched. Each time a semi-raw fish plate or other Peruvian delicacy was brought to his table, I wanted to know what the man behind “grab some pine, meat” had to say about the food.
In a way, he was calling the meal — at least in my imagination.
On the food: “The cooks are putting on a clinic back there.”
On a passing patron who noticed him: “Did he just give us the stank-eye?”
On a server bringing out lots of plates at once: “He put both cheeks into that one.”
On the famous La Mar ceviche: “Ownage is ownage.”
On the overall meal: “This was a gut-check victory.”
On the nuanced flavors of dishes: “That's shaving some paint right there.”
And so it went that evening. Krukow could make a killing with a side job broadcasting dinners. There's a reason fans have created Tumblr pages and Twitter accounts devoted to his words, and scribes have for years written about his unique take on the game. (Heck, he's even ended up in a Northwestern University linguistics professor's curriculum.)
That, my friends, is what you'd call a real ha-ha-ha-ha laugher!