The above photo was taken in July 2003 – during the SARS pandemic. There were a few fans present at Skydome / Rogers Centre that day. Won’t be happening this year though.
It’s not just the Blue Jays that will experience COVID weirdness. I watched the opening day baseball game in Washington DC last night. World Series championship banner raised with no fans in the park. Vacuous player introductions. Massive home runs clanging off empty seats. No broadcasters in the park – Matt and A-Rod were in a studio with appropriate social distancing. The coaches wearing masks. Canned crowd noise – sorta like a comedy laugh track, but less stimulating.
The most exciting thing was a huge thunderstorm that washed the game out in the 6th inning – Yanks win! Yanks win!
Honestly, I don’t see how baseball can possibly hope to keep viewers with such a depressing spectacle. Do they think that a live crowd. has nothing to do with the atmosphere?
I contrasted the live broadcast with a televised Sportsnet replay of the 1993 World Series game 6 – yes folks I was there. The crowd went crazy after Joe’s home run, but the atmosphere was electric all night long – and I don’t mean lightning and thunder.
Now I hear that major league baseball will expand the playoffs this year – even more games in empty ballparks.
It’s great if you want to watch bad umpiring without crowd reaction, or see a hanging slider go 460 feet to die on an outfield concourse without anyone to catch it. But it sure ain’t baseball. You can look it up.