Thankfully, for those of us listening along at home, the Washington Nationals got veteran radio man Charlie Slowes to call the action when they held another simulated game in Nationals Park last night, because they also experimented with piped in crowd noise and music while they played, which would have made for an odd listening/viewing experience without the announcer.
Kudos to the Nationals for streaming the sim game as well, it was nice to have baseball back on our device(s).
And since we’ll all be watching games from home with no fans in the stands when baseball returns later this month, the radio announcer for the defending World Series champs did a good job of making it all tolerable.
Apparently, the players liked it. Better than the sounds of the game and chatter from all of the players at least.
“It was good,” Manager Davey Martinez told reporters when he spoke on a Zoom call after the seven-inning game came to an end.
“It was nice to have some crowd noise in there,” he added, “... and get some music, and get the announcers going, get the scoreboard up.
“I want to make this last week or so as close as we can to just a real game.”
There are two more sim games this week, then an exhibition with the Philadelphia Phillies in the nation’s capital before the 60-game MLB campaign kicks off on July 23rd when the New York Yankees come to D.C., so Martinez and Co. with the Nationals wanted the club to start to get a feel for what it’s going to be like.
How did the players react to the piped in crowd noise and music? Did they even notice?
“They noticed it,” Martinez said.
“With not having like a regular crowd, obviously the echo out in the field, it’s different, so we had to click it down a little bit to get it where we thought it was kind of more real.
“But they liked it. They liked the noise. Obviously they liked the music, they like to dance, so, but it was good. We got a great reaction from them. They liked it. So we’re going to incorporate it.
“We’re going to do it this season. We’re going to work out the bugs. First time we worked on it, and got it.
“It’s definitely a lot better to hear that than hear myself screaming or listen to everybody else talking.”
Wait, did he say they are going to do it, like it wasn’t a test, and it’s been decided that they are going to pipe in noise during the regular season?
“We’re going to work on the loudness of it,” Martinez reiterated. “We turned it down a little bit the last couple innings and it was a lot better.
“Those guys, obviously, out in the field, they hear it differently than we do in the dugout, but they said it definitely got better the last two innings, where it wasn’t as loud, but they liked it so if the players like it we’re going to roll with it.
“Gives us some kind of noise they’re used to during a regular game.”
Does he really think it will work?
“Yeah, I really do. Like I said, I wanted the feedback from the players, and they liked it.
“The first inning or two was really, really loud. We started toning it down a little bit, and it actually worked.”
Erick Fedde, who tossed four scoreless innings on the mound opposite Stephen Strasburg in the intrasquad battle, said it took a little getting used to, but he liked it.
“If anything it just gets you zoned in a little more,” Fedde said. “Crowd noise is something I feel like most players are pretty good at zoning out.
“I didn’t even really think about it to be honest. But it was nice to kind of feel like we had a little bit better atmosphere today.”
“It really didn’t bug me at all,” Fedde added. “If anything it helped kind of zone you in a little more, when you get the little bit of extra adrenaline for a big moment, and I don’t know, it’s just fun to feel like people are cheering you on again.”