If you asked me a couple weeks ago if we will even see a professional baseball game this season, I would have given a fairly pessimistic answer.
Last night the first Major League Baseball (MLB) game of the season finally took place. The New York Yankees opened up their season against the Washington Nationals. How ironic that during a shortened season the first game was cut short, because of a rain delay. Seems fitting.
As a fan sitting home and watching from my couch, it was weird to see absolutely no fans in the stands. One thing MLB is doing, is using crowd noise from the video game, MLB the Show, and playing it throughout the sound systems at each stadium.
More than enough people were watching from home though, as it was reported that the season opener drew an average of four million viewers.
In an effort to get the fans involved, MLB is launching a feature through its website, Gameday app, and through social media to allow fans to interact with their teams. Fans will be able to cheer or boo their team.
Scoreboard operators at the home teams’ ballparks will receive a live interface that reflects fan reactions and have the ability to adjust the type of artificial crowd noise that is played through the empty stadiums.
This is a great way to get the fans “virtually” involved in a 60-game season that is so intense because every game truly counts. MLB also recently announced that the playoffs have been expanded to feature 16 teams now.
Whether you are a fan of some of the new rules that MLB has added, you have to give them credit for trying to be engage fans within the surreal environment of social distancing, masks, and quarantines. The MLB is heading in the right direction. Baseball is back.