Move over cardboard cutouts and robot mannequins, FOX Sports has come up with a new way to simulate fans at the ballpark. A Thursday morning tweet revealed that FOX will be adding virtual spectators to the stands for their MLB games this Saturday. They’ll be cheering, booing…even doing the wave.
You’d think advanced technology would be able to eliminate the most abominable aspects of human behavior, but that is apparently not the case.
No fans? Not on FOX Sports.
Thousands of virtual fans will attend FOX’s MLB games this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z9oQU0rYuC
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 23, 2020
And guess what? The Cubs are playing the Brewers Saturday afternoon at Wrigley, which means you’ll get to see how this thing works firsthand. I wonder how they’ll handle the bleachers, which are now mostly occupied by large advertising banners. Surely the Cubs are going to need those signs to be visible throughout the game.
In an ironic twist, Cardinals fans will finally be right when they crow about Wrigley being filled with fake fans who just started following the team recently. Maybe in response, FOX can program some of the attendees to tell us how many years they’ve been fans just to prove they’re legit.
As strange as this would seem under normal circumstances, I’m all for leaning into the weirdness of this truncated season. And if that means maintaining some semblance of normalcy, even if it’s just the obviously manufactured sense of having a crowd in attendance, I’m all for it. This season is anything but regular, so they may as well take the opportunity to experiment with whatever new broadcast technology they can.
More than anything else, I’m looking forward to inevitable glitches and potential Easter eggs, some of which could well end up being hilarious. What are your thoughts on seeing virtual fans in the stands at Wrigley?