It’s a strange new reality at Dodger Stadium, but it’s going to be the norm for the 2020 season. After three exhibition games, the virtual fan experience has been on full display for Dodgers fans to watch on TV — if you can get SportsNet LA.
Piped in crowd noise, cardboard cutouts, and everything in between has been put in effect at ballparks around the league. The hope is to try and provide the best viewing and listening experience into the homes of fans. Moreover, no one likes playing in complete silence.
So, summer camp has come and gone, and for the greater part, the “this is what we have” experience for fans has been met with positive reviews.
Considering the circumstances, what grade would you give this new Dodgers game experience?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) July 20, 2020
Close to 85% of voters gave the game experience a grade of B or above. The blend of Dodgers baseball and fake crowd noise going along with the incomparable in-house entertainment team of DJ Severe, Dieter Ruehle, and Todd Leitz putting together an audible experience that sounds just about as close to a game as you can get.
Try closing you’re eyes and listening for a few pitches on opening day and you’ll see if you don’t believe me.
On the TV side, Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser are back where they belong in the Vin Scully press box. On radio, old friend Charley Steiner is calling games from his living room as he teams with Nomar Garciaparra, Dave Vassegh, and company.
SportsNet LA anchor John Hartung told Dodgers Nation that with everything put together, it was starting to sound like an actual baseball game.
As they improved the experience at the game, with the crowd noise being piped in and with DJ Severe, and the walkup songs, and Todd Leitz announcing it… it started to feel like an actual baseball game. It wasn’t until the cutaways of the empty seats that we truly feel like there was a lot missing from the experience.
Is it perfect? No. But it’s the best that we can do for 2020… and if this is the best, it’s not all bad.
Just happy to have Dodger baseball back. pic.twitter.com/6JexBHnbaE
— Daniel Tapia (@therealdtapia) July 21, 2020
Of course, it’s still early. The experience will be worked on and refined. On Monday, MLB unveiled additional measures to try and add to the fan experience at home, including the ability to potentially cheer or boo from an app.
It’s weird, but it’s what we have… and at least we have this.