Major League Baseball season opens today with many teams planning to play simulated crowd audio as their stands remain empty as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I was okay with it,” New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the club started its experiment last week at Yankee Stadium.
During the 1997 National Basketball Association (NBA) season, New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets head coach John Calipari was not as pumped about audio of artificial cheers. In March, the Nets were in 13th place in the NBA’s 15-team Eastern Division, and dramatically short of filling the more than 20,000 seats in their East Rutherford, New Jersey, arena.
After Michael James of New York’s Daily News exposed the Nets ruse that month, Calipari said, “I just shook my head. I said, ‘Do we need to do that?… At least the boos are real.”
An Associated Press follow-up story concluded, “Many teams in other sports use electronic clapping sounds to spur on fans and some even flash cartoon cheer prompts on scoreboards. But there are no attempts to simulate crowd noise.”
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