Philadelphia Phillies analyst John Kruk was so distraught by the New York Mets ninth inning comeback that he nearly risked his entire TV career.
The NL East rivalry between the Mets and Phillies has been rekindled this season. It helps that both teams are aiming for the playoffs, but the rivalry has mostly been sparked by their respective broadcast booths after Mets analyst Keith Hernandez criticized the Phillies’ lack of fundies earlier this month. The criticism prompted Philadelphia’s broadcasters to vehemently defend the Phillies by repeatedly mocking Hernandez every time the Phillies make a nice defensive play.
Sunday afternoon, the Phillies blew leads of 4-0, 7-4 and 8-7 en route to losing the game and three out of four to the Mets. While each collapse was surely frustrating for Phillies fans to watch, it was that final blown lead that demoralized the broadcast crew, especially Kruk.
A two-run homer by outfielder Mark Canha put the Mets in front in the ninth-inning, and centerfielder Brandon Nimmo tacked on a solo shot to give New York some breathing room.
“I’d like to say something, but I’m afraid,” Kruk said on the NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast after Nimmo’s home run.
“Give yourself five seconds,” play-by-play voice Tom McCarthy suggested.
“Nah, I need more than that. I’m afraid that this would be my last broadcast. I really – so I’m gonna – just…” Kruk said with pain and disgust.
The last time Kruk told Phillies fans he couldn’t say something on-air, he proceeded to say it anyway, telling a decades-old story about a parking spot argument between Tom Arnold and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which was a real dispute and not a sitcom sketch.
This time, however, Kruk didn’t divulge, choosing his TV career over what could have been a viral sportscasting moment. But after taking McCarthy’s recommended five seconds, Kruk said, “All right, here we go,” and went right back to calling the rest of what was a heartbreaking regular season loss for the Phils.