I’ve been going over this question in my head a lot for the past few weeks as the looming potential of an MLB season without fans begins to seem more and more like 2020’s reality. On the one hand, having a season is the best possible answer. I want to see Mike Trout win another MVP for a losing team and Gary Sanchez strikeout looking four times in a single game again. I want to see the Mets squander all the potential in world and the Dodgers lose in another World Series. I want all of that; I really do.
But, on the flip side, the game is just not the same when there’s not fans there to cheer their team on…just ask the Marlins (haha nice joke, James. Real original.) I need Jose Altuve to be booed every time he steps to the plate and Clayton Kershaw to forget how to pitch once he sees 50+ thousand fans in the stadium for a playoff series. Remember how weird it was when the UFC fought without fans in March?
There was just such a missing element to the event that it took away from the experience. But, the truth is, I still watched the fight. And I will still watch the MLB season and NBA/NHL playoffs and NFL season with or without fans. There’s nothing that’s going to change that.
So I think what I, and sports fans around the world, need to accept is that everything is going to be different for the foreseeable future. We are not going to get the full product that we want out on the field for a Sunday night pitcher’s duel in San Francisco, but it’s going to be something. And I think that is what is most important during these crazy times – having something to give us a reprieve from the hell that we have been living in.
If the MLB comes back and plays a full season without fans, it is not going to be about us individually missing out on the sporting experiences that we are used to. Instead, it’s going to be about us collectively getting a 3 hour mental break from all of the stress and anxiety of our current situation and just getting to sit back and watch Joe Maddon mismanage his bullpen or Joe West make the entire game about himself.
I have decided that I am fully in favor of a season without fans…especially if they let Gary Thorne call every game.