Ideas To Liven Up Baseball’s Empty Stands When It Returns

As MLB squabbles its way to a return, many questions remain. One of the most insignificant is what to do with the empty stands? That’s why I decided to give it some thought.

Overlap an image of a video game crowd background, right behind the outfield fence.  The cheesier the better. I would prefer they somehow incorporate the Street Fighter crowd. Some low-lifes cheering on the action from a seedy dock, but any video game crowd would suffice.

In fact, MLB could have fans create little characters and, for a small fee, have their character appear in the crowd. Fans love to get on screen, even in the form of a video game character. MLB loves money. It’s a win-win.

This would be a broadcast enhancement, sort of like the glowing puck. When a player hits a home run, a giant color explosion erupts where the ball landed.  As if a can of paint exploded. Different colors for different teams. And the image stays that way for the entirety of the game. That way, as the game goes on, you can see all the places in the outfield where each team has hit a home run.

The technology of this is something I’m still working out. I’ll trust that there are people smarter than me that can get this done.

Place cutouts and objects at various places in the stadium. When a player hits the object with a ball, it falls down or lights up. Or both. There could be points. Hit a duck with a 450-foot bomb and get 3,000 points.

Knock over a Crying Jordan face on the wrong side of the foul pole, get 50.

How great would it be to see Mike Trout hit a screecher over the wall and have the ball hit a mechanized cowboy that then does a little jig? 10,000 points.

However many points you get during a game, your opponent donates that amount of dollars to charity.

You know, because MLB cares. Or something.

Staying in the carnival game theme –  in the stands behind each dugout, a massive skee-ball ramp is constructed. When a player laces a foul ball there, it is funneled into the skee-ball ramp and shoots upward, where it lands in a hole for points. You know, like skee-ball. In a perfect world, the stands behind the dugout would be jam packed with fans who, if they let their guard down during an at-bat, could be left with an inability to chew solid food or remember their name for a year. But this isn’t a perfect world.

So let’s channel those foul balls into a skee-ball ramp instead.

And lastly…

This isn’t something I came up with; I saw the general idea tweeted in reference to a basketball game near the beginning of this pandemic, but the concept is brilliant. Instead of a stadium full of fans – each team gets one. They can be rotated game-by-game or by series. The camera shows those two fans throughout the game, and they can pretty much go anywhere in the stands, as long as they stay away from one another. The opportunity for entertainment here is pretty great.  If you have a fan that reacts to nothing – good or bad, that’s funny. Just some slob out there staring straight ahead no matter what happens. Conversely, showing some freak show that reacts wildly, regardless of the action, has its own merit.

Some caveats –  the fans cannot bring a phone. The person would spend the entire game searching for themselves on social media, which would just lead to some vapid influencer getting onto the broadcast and tweeting vapid influencer things all game. I’d rather not even have a season at that point.  

And, of course, Marlins Man would be banned.

This post was written by Blaise. Follow him: @BlaiseInKC

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