One of the most recognizable voices in national sports broadcasting is convinced that the Twins pumped in artificial crowd noise in the Metrodome in the 1987 World Series.
In an interview on NBC Radio’s “Pro Football Live” with Mike Florio on Wednesday, Al Michaels said “it was ridiculously loud” in the now-defunct Dome as he did play-by-play of the Series for ABC.
“I’ll never forget, Scott Ostler was writing for the L.A. Times, and he described the crowd as 54,223 Scandinavian James Browns,” Michaels said. “It was the perfect line.”
Michaels, who called Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday for NBC, said his thoughts while in the Dome were, “ ‘Wait a minute. This is a baseball game. Nobody is screaming like this when the fifth inning starts.’
“To me, there was no question in my mind” that the crowd noise was fabricated, he said.
Twins President Dave St. Peter responded Thursday by saying the organization found Michaels’ comments “comical.”
St. Peter noted the ’87 Twins, who beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games — winning the first two and last two games at home — were also accused of blowing air toward the outfield through the Dome vents to help Twins batters.
“At the end of the day, it continues to demonstrate a lack of appreciation and respect for Tom Kelly, Frank Viola, Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett, who came out of nowhere to win a championship,” he said.
“I don’t think they needed any of the conspiracy theories out there to win that championship.”
Michaels’ comments came on the heels of Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank acknowledging this week that his team pumped in fake crowd noise for the past two seasons.
The NFL is investigating the Falcons on that issue.
Michaels said that ABC brought a noise meter to the Dome during the ’87 World Series, and he recalled that it broke from the deafening roar in the fully contained concrete-and-steel structure with the Teflon muffin top.
“The decibel level had gotten higher than a runway at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport,” Michaels said.
Not surprising, St. Peter said.
“Those players had a magical journey that resulted in a very special bond with the fans, perhaps the most incredible bond a team and a fan base has enjoyed in this part of the country,” the Twins president said. “It resulted in some magical moments, including, in my view, a record decibel level in the Dome in 1987.”
Michaels also suspects this has been done any number of times during Vikings games in the same venue, a contention that opposing teams have voiced over the years. The Vikings consistently denied any such shenanigans.
“With the enthusiasm of the Vikings fans, the Vikings don’t need pumped-in noise,” Red McCombs, the onetime team owner, said in 2001.
In a 2013 interview soon after he retired as Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission executive director, Bill Lester characterized long-running artificial noise accusations as nothing more than “urban myth.”
Lester did acknowledge to Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal that the Vikings had an “eccentric” sound person who “could create even more sound or direct it at the bench of the opposing team. … They didn’t pump anything extra in.”