QUIET CONTEMPLATION

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

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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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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