Baseball in 2020 has a different feel to it, there’s no hiding that. Even in a year that features Mookie Betts signing a 12-year extension with the Dodgers, it still feels flat.
And it’s really no fault of anyone in the organization or really even in the league. The pandemic has made it impossible for fans to go to games, and that’s a huge aspect of the game. Believe it or not, it’s tough to get amped up for cardboard cutouts. At least that’s what Dodgers players are finding out.
Kenley Jansen talked with the media about the differences this year when coming into games. The Dodgers’ closer admitted that drawing motivation out of himself before entering a game is tough without fans.
Man, it’s hard, I’m not going to lie about that. It’s an adjustment that we have to make pretty quick here because it’s so much easier to lift with your fans. If your fans are cheering or the other side is booing and you come out there and shut it down, it’s so much easier to pitch when it was fans in the stands. But we’re gonna make an adjustment. Just try to keep focused more and more and lock-in.
No matter how much sound you pump into the stadium, there’s no fooling these big-league players. They know that the fans are missing from games, and not having that adrenaline rush is going to play into the season. In all fairness, it doesn’t appear to be hurting Kenley Jansen. His average fastball velocity is barely down from last year, but basically the same. And as of now, the results are there.
That just means Dodgers fans are going to have to be twice as loud next year. Chavez Ravine is going to be rocking in 2021.