Baseball is back, and judging by the ratings, fans are happy even though the season begins in midsummer.
But that’s not exactly what baseball fans know and love.
In the COVID-19 era, stadiums are mostly empty as fans are not allowed to attend games in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Cutouts have replaced fans, and while they look a bit creepy, you get used to them quickly. Fans of the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A can even purchase a cutout image to be placed in the stands. If your cutout is hit by a foul ball in an A match, the team will kick the ball to you, according to The Chronicle.
But the lifeless cutouts don’t budge, so in the CGI age, Fox Sports has decided to take it a step further with computer-generated fans in the stands, and the feedback so far has not been positive.
Digital Fox fans have to go. Just a ton of dudes alternating chin in hand, then 2 second delayed reactions. pic.twitter.com/fLh7EYXTMX
– Matt Young (@Chron_MattYoung) 25 juillet 2020
Complaints on Twitter range from “it just looks bad” to being “distracting,” mostly due to the poor implementation of Fox Sports, like an 80s sci-fi movie with bad special effects ( hey, Fox, maybe involving ILM) or a PlayStation or Xbox baseball game.
I don’t really agree with the fake digital fans in the stands anyway (I feel super dystopian), but so far the way FOX deploys it only makes it worse. It’s intermittent, it comes and goes in back-to-back shots, and it just looks bad.
– Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 25, 2020
Congratulations, Fox Sports on EASILY the worst way to empty baseball stadiums. The combination of the crowd noise being pumped way too loudly into the soundtrack and the arena montages with inconsistently added digital fans is 100% just a distraction, not an improvement.
– Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) July 25, 2020
And if you hate the wave at baseball games, then you are going to really hate computer generated wave at baseball game.
Absolutely cursed wave. pic.twitter.com/RVzCmc2lMu
– Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 25, 2020
Fox has #SFGiants fans doing the wave, not cool
– rare. (@zeldaA_S) July 25, 2020
While it’s cool that Tom Hanks does the voice of a supplier to A’s games without a fan, it’s probably not a good idea to see a CGI Tom Hanks peddling hot dogs at A’s games.
Matthew Tom is Editor-in-Chief at SFGATE. Email: [email protected]