Baseball fans started off wondering if the game would even return after the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, now that it's back on, we are wondering how they will handle the shift to empty stadiums. Athletes are used to -- and thrive off, the hype created by a crowd, and with that gone the dynamic of the game and broadcast changes.
Will there be crowd noise pumped in? Cardboard cutouts of fans? Well, for a select number of broadcasts, virtual fans will be in the seats.
Here's a first look at these virtual fans, that will be used in Fox Sports MLB television broadcasts:
It's reminiscent of a video game and the fans do look rather realistic based on the preview.
These fans will boo, cheer and from what it seems, do the wave as well. They are wearing team apparel and colors to make it look even more real.
To make it authentic, I hope they yell at each other for standing up during an at-bat, spill their $15 beer to catch a foul ball and rush their kid up to the front row in hopes of meeting a player.
Even being virtual, it's hard not to get jealous seeing people in seats at a baseball game, knowing we won't get to do that until likely next season. Oh, the glory days of overpaying for food at a park on a 90-degree day with no shade. Nothing better.
The MLB season returns on Thursday with the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals hosting the New York Yankees to kick off Opening Day followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the San Francisco Giants.