Watching Major League Baseball on TV was a Bizarre, Empty Experience
So, Monday night I had the TV to myself after dinner and decided I'd check out the Atlanta Braves "Inter-squad Scrimmage" on TV.
It was a surreal, bizarre experience that lasted for me, about 15-minutes...
Imagine watching a game at your local high school or if you've ever been to Spring Training--a game there only if you were watching on TV, there was no crowd and absolutely no natural sound. At all.
The local outlet carrying Braves television--Fox Sports South had a handful of cameras stationed around Truist Stadium but not nearly the amount used for an actual game that counts. The broadcast was hosted from their studio in Midtown Atlanta, about 10 or so miles away from the stadium with Studio Host Jerome Jurenevich and Analyst Paul Byrd talking about everything Braves in a kind of generic way, not focusing much on actual game action.
I don't fault the hosts or the production--but I found the whole thing complete unwatchable. Mind you, I'm willing to watch just about anything with my favorite baseball team, I couldn't deal with this.
Maybe its because as a Broadcast Storyteller (I work in TV) I couldn't handle not hearing any sound other than the voices of our hosts, but it was flat-out distracting to me. Not hearing the crack of a bat, the pop of a ball hitting a glove just made it uncomfortable.
Those sounds in many ways are what makes baseball, baseball....
No, Baseball noise is not like snap counts and crunching of shoulder pads in Football or the constant squeak of sneakers and chatter of Basketball, but there is a certain rhythm and feel the noise provides that wasn't there.
I've read a handful of reports from the dozen or so reporters and photographers who were there and able to hear all the noise--but it wasn't on TV. Those there to document what happened said there was a constant chatter of players talking to each other along with the regular sounds of a baseball game.
You couldn't hear ANY of that at home.
We're now, as I write this, roughly 10-days away from the start of a Major League Baseball season, abridged as though it may be. A season with zero fans. Zero crowd noise.
Assuming the games begin, I have NO idea how they will come across to fans. I hope to god the production includes the sounds of the games. According to reports--the stadium still had "Walk-Up" music and things like that but who watches--or listens to baseball for that?
Give me the high-pitched "Pop" of a baseball hitting a glove, the loud crack of a bat connecting with a 95-mph pitch, the "I got it, I got it" of a Shortstop calling for a pop fly. Those are the sounds of baseball.
If you can give me that, I'll learn to adjust to having no fans in the stands. No organ player trying to pump up the crowd, no energy in the stadium.
Baseball more than any other sport relies on tradition and a slower energy than the other sports, it's always been that way and I'm good with it.
But for the love of god, PLEASE pump in sound to the broadcasts---because without it, the games are unwatchable and lord knows right now, I need a few baseball games to take my mind off the cluster-$#*! of a virus-filled, bizarro world dominated by politics we currently live in....