Al Michaels talks smack about Twins crowds

Kent HrbekNBC commentator Al Michaels recently reiterated his past allegations that the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins pumped fake crowd noise into the late Metrodome to confound opposing teams.

This Kevin Cusack story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press tells the tale:

“Minnesota’s in the World Series against St. Louis, and it was ridiculously loud,” Michaels said Wednesday during an interview on Pro Football Talk Live on NBC Sports Radio. “I’ll never forget Scott Ostler was writing for the L.A. Times, and he described the (Metrodome) crowd as 54,223 Scandinavian James Browns.

“I’m going, wait a minute. This is a baseball game,” Michaels told the host, NBC colleague Mike Florio. “Nobody is screaming like this when the fifth inning starts. … To me, there was no question” that the crowd noise was not natural.

Accusations that crowd noise in the old Metrodome was faked are nothing new, and have been applied to football’s Minnesota Vikings as well. Having watched a number of Twins games in the Metrodome over the years (about one per year for most of my teens and 20s) I’d suggest that it’s plausible to me that the Dome actually got that loud all on its own. Most any ambient noise reverberated in that stadium. Fly balls would sound like home runs just from people saying simultaneously, “Does it have enough? Oh, guess not,” in a normal tone of voice.

Perhaps Minnesota sports fans aren’t “special,” but for three decades their stadium was especially weird.

I’ve been to Target Field and this effect is all gone. Sure, the teams aren’t as good these days, but mostly we just forget what an oddball place the Metrodome really was.

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