The roar of the crowd.
The biggest singular fan variable between any other level of baseball and the Major Leagues is the number of fans that attend the games. With that has always been the pure energy, the level of the sound after the big play in the field, the monster home run. If baseball exists on a sensory basis it is sound that drives a big part of our connection to the game. Fans thrive on the energy. Players thrive on the energy. Players want this big loud environment that they have spent so many years of hard work to become a part of. The players need it too.
Sound and Major League Baseball are inseparable.
When you are at the game, sound informs you. Minimal sound equals no activity, or no interest. Big sound equals something important, something you connect to, and just maybe that sound, that energy becomes a memory that will never leave you.
When baseball returns and it will, sound must play a part of the experience as a way to strengthen our connection to the game. Simply putting a fan free game on the airwaves may at first draw significant interest based our need to return to baseball. But soon after, our sensory connection to the game may no doubt diminish, and our fan experience will suffer. Teams spend so much time creating great places for all of us to visit that will enhance our “fan experience”. To minimize that strategy, with no fans in the stands and no connected memory to what we associate with our fan experience, will change what we expect, from what we are actually experiencing.
Interestingly, the one sport that does not suffer a change in how we watched it before, is NASCAR. We simply never hear the fans. Empty stadium, fan-less Korean Baseball seems quiet, dull and non-energetic compared to what the game was meant to sound like. European soccer is piping in noise. Sports need sound.
Is it possible in a fan free or fan reduced environment, to orchestrate the sound? Start with the crowd hum, add the layers of the in-game music, sounds, cheers, and chants of encouragement, announce each player coming to bat. Change absolutely nothing that would normally be played over the stadium sound system, then with each play create a soundtrack that the fan at home will react to.
It may not be perfect, but it will create that more connected sensory image that at its best makes the fan want to be at the game, and in any event will be a sensory reminder that embeds itself in our memory.
Sound and Major League Base are inseparable.