I’ve been watching the empty-park White Sox-Orioles game. As a game it’s not so competitive, with the O’s putting up a six-spot in the bottom of the first. We’re now in the third inning. But people don’t really care as much about the game as the environment of this one.
As far as that goes: it’s kind of weird, but it’s getting more normal as it goes on. It’s not entirely quiet, actually. A good number of Orioles fans have lined up outside the gates and they are cheering when the Orioles do good things. A moment ago they had some sort of chant working.
From a broadcast perspective we’re in bizarro world. I started watching the MASN broadcast, featuring Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer. They’re one of the better broadcast crews around, but they talk. A lot. More than you realize when a normal game is going in. Maybe they’re talking more here to cover for the lack of crowd noise, but it became annoying after half an inning and I switched to Hawk Harrellson and Steve Stone over on WGN. They’re . . . not one of the best crews around, but they’re more quiet. Especially given that the Sox are getting shellacked, which tends to shut Harrellson up.
With that quiet we’re getting the sounds of clicks from the cameras in the photo well. At times you can hear the pitcher’s cleat grinding on the mound as he pivots. Once I heard an iPhone text message tone, presumably from the Sox’ booth. You can actually hear Thorne — whose voice carries — talking in the next booth over, even on the WGN broadcast. There’s a helicopter circling the ballpark now, presumably for a news broadcast. That’s odd.
Beyond that, the bat crack is a bit louder. The pop of the mitt is a bit more pronounced. But it’s baseball on TV. And as I watch this game, I’m realizing just how little of the crowd you actually notice while watching TV. Foul balls and homers and some occasional oohs and ahs, but that’s about it.