Al Michaels has been criticized for over a year now for his seemingly lackadaisical calls on “Thursday Night Football,” but this week he proved he can still hit 100 on the radar gun.
During the second quarter of the Cleveland Browns-New York Jets matchup, an odd sound could be heard in the background.
Clearly, it caught the attention of Michaels.
The longtime play-by-play announcer said someone was pounding on a trash-can.
It was the perfect queue for a joke in sports that will never go away.
“Somebody’s pounding on that trash can, I think the Astros must be in town,” he said.
Of course, the Houston Astros notoriously banged on trash cans to steal signs and tell batters what pitch was coming in real time throughout the 2017 season.
The practice allegedly helped them win their first World Series in franchise history.
Then-Astros pitcher Mike Fiers was the whistleblower in November 2019, and a few short months later, MLB suspended manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow – Astros owner Jim Crane fired them both.
Alex Cora was also suspended for his role, while the scandal also cost Carlos Beltran his managerial job with the New York Mets before he even filled out a lineup card in spring training.
Rumors have swirled that the Astros adopted further practices in 2018 and 2019 to continue stealing signs, including Jose Altuve wearing a wire when he hit a walk-off home run to send Houston to the 2019 World Series, but those were never proven.
No players were suspended, as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred granted them immunity in exchange for the truth, a move he has since expressed regret for.
Houston won the 2022 World Series, and this season marked their seventh-consecutive trip to the American League Championship Series, one year shy of the all-time MLB record set by the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s.
It was quite the pull from Michaels, who hasn’t called baseball since 2011, and not full-time since the mid-1990s. But he was on the call for the 1989 earthquake in the Bay Area during that Fall Classic.
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