The Philadelphia Phillies are playing in the first Game 7 in franchise postseason history. After a grueling 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night, the Phillies will send Ranger Suárez to the mound to sustain their playoff life. The club will need the crowd to rally behind them.
What better way to get the fans into the game than having one of the most popular figures in franchise history throw out the first pitch?
John Kruk will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 7. Kruk played for the Phillies from 1989-1994. He was a National League champ in 1993 and represented the team three times in the All-Star game. Phillies fans resonated with his laid-back attitude and his blue-collar personality. Kruk was honored by the Phillies and inducted into their Wall of Fame in 2011.
While he'll always be known as a key member of the 1993 squad, Kruk has more recently gained notoriety in the broadcast booth as well. He originally joined the Phillies' broadcast booth in 2003. He left after that season and joined ESPN for 13 years as an announcer with the Sunday Night Baseball crew and an analyst on "Baseball Tonight." He rejoined the Phillies broadcast team in 2017 and has been popular in Philadelphia ever since.
Kruk's sense of humor and personality have endeared him to fans across the Philadelphia viewing area. He's dry and witty but can provide in-depth insight into the game, having experience as a player. Kruk has been known to joke around with or about former teammates and coaches. After Larry Bowa threw out the first pitch on Monday night, he offered a friendly challenge to Kruk:
Even though he mainly announces home games, does not travel with the team very often and shares color commentary responsibilities with Ben Davis and Rubén Amaro Jr., Kruk seems to be the overwhelming fan favorite next to Tom McCarthy.
Hopefully, Kruk's appearance on the field will get the rally towels waving and the Phillies fans loud before first pitch. While Kruk will undoubtedly get a nice ovation, he'll be looking to fire a strike so he doesn't lose a friend in Bowa.