It’s been three weeks since Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Like other sports, teams have played in isolation and without fans. But they’ve taken steps to make the season feel normal, from canned crowd noise (like at this Red Sox game against the Mets) to cardboard cutouts of fans in the stadium.
Doug Glanville, a Connecticut-based ESPN analyst, author and former MLB player, says he thinks the canned noise is well done, but it doesn't capture the whole spectrum of experiences a player has with fans.
"And I think that's a good thing to recognize, with humility, that there's something so magical and so unique that a fan brings to a game, that you can't copy it," Glanville told NEXT.
Glanville says recent coronavirus outbreaks among players and staff on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals show the MLB will have to make adjustments to its virus protocols. But, he says, baseball can provide information and lessons in our broader fight against the virus as well. The MLB has power and privilege, with access to testing, good healthcare and nearly unlimited resources. Glanville wrote in a New York Times op-ed:
"Baseball’s success, then, will be our success; its failure, our failure. We want to know we can win this fight, without being curled up in a ball while waiting for a vaccine, even though we quietly understand that many variables that give these sports advantages in this fight are not fully available to the vast majority of people. Still, we hope that baseball’s eventual victory will wash over us as one."