QUIET CONTEMPLATION

Ken Hoffman: Rockets PA announcer's bit is nothing new

The Warriors' player introductions were nothing new. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This story originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston.

To everybody who lost their mind over Toyota Center announcer Matt Thomas’ deadpan, couldn’t-be-bothered, practically-under-his-breath introduction of the Golden State Warriors the other night: relax, it was nothing new — he did that to Rockets’ opponents all season.

It's his bit and it's hilarious. In fact, he does it the whole game. When an opposing player scores, Thomas practically whispers his name. Thomas got a lot of attention this time because it was a Game 7, nationally televised, team introductions usually don’t make the telecast, and the NBA teacher’s pet Golden State Warriors were playing. Let’s dig deeper:

Ken Hoffman: Were you surprised by the national media’s reaction to your introduction of the Warriors?

 

Matt Thomas: Not really. I treat all the opposing teams the same. The only way other cities hear my lineups are when it’s broadcast on a national cable channel like TNT.

KH: When did you start doing dismissive introductions of opposing teams? 

MT: When I came back for my second tour of duty as Toyota Center’s arena announcer during the ’16-’17 season. My first run as PA announcer was ’94-’96. I wanted to try something different this time. I’m mostly just trying to convey indifference to the other team.

KH: Do you notice how the other teams react to your introductions?

MT:: I’ve never seen anybody react until I saw Warriors coach Steve Kerr smile when I said his name. He liked it.

KH: Has management ever said it liked your introductions or asked you to knock it off?

MT: No. My job is to fire up the home team and the fans. I think I accomplish that.

KH: Has an opponent said anything to you about your introduction?

MT: Chicago’s Ryan Arcidiacono has thanked me twice for saying his name right.

KH: Do other NBA arena announcers do similarly underwhelming introductions?

MT: Most treat their opponents like they're calling roll in a junior high classroom.

KH: Which teams are the most fun for you to introduce?

MT: Golden State and San Antonio. Their players get the loudest boos

KH: Do you still want to be a game show host? Give me your Top 5 dream shows to host.

MT: Absolutely: The Price is Right$100,000 PyramidMatch GameCard Sharks, and Tattletales. The last one is an old celebrity marriage gossip game.

KH: Do you think the Rockets would have won Game 7 if Chris Paul had played? How about if Cliff Paul had played?

MT: As for Chris Paul, that forever will be a great unknown. As for Cliff Paul, he’s a very underrated 3-point shooter.

KH: What is the capital of Bulgaria?

MT: Bulgaria City.

(Wrong! The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia. And Thomas wants to be a game show host?)

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McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

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