Notes: Artificial crowd noise, prospects

July 16th, 2020

OAKLAND -- A roaring crowd was audible at the Oakland Coliseum following a solo blast by that cleared the center-field wall during Wednesday’s simulated game.

Of course, this wasn’t an actual crowd, as fans won’t be allowed to attend games at the Coliseum this season. The crowd noise was artificial and piped in over the Coliseum’s speakers in an effort to recreate the atmosphere for a normal game with fans in the stands.

The A’s are one of many teams experimenting with the implementation of crowd noise during games. Other ways the club is looking to simulate a fan experience include cardboard cutouts set up throughout the ballpark and walk-up music for players.

The noise is constant throughout the game, creating a commotion similar to what goes on while attending ballgames that can even come across during television and radio broadcasts. The A’s are used to hearing the crowd, but in these circumstances, hearing the artificial noise was a change.

“It’s different. It gets your attention. I think you want something that doesn’t get your attention,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I think we’re going back and forth with music. Maybe music without words. Maybe something like The Three Tenors or something like that, but I’m guessing that probably won’t go over. We’ll come up with something.”

Previous sim games featured a playlist of popular instrumentals. That experiment went over much better with the players, who likened it to the way the NBA plays music during basketball games.

“We’ve been playing music, and I’ve actually enjoyed it,” A’s second baseman Tony Kemp said. “Part of me feels like crowd noise can feel like white noise to a certain extent. The music we’ve been playing has been fun, and you don’t even hear the music at the plate because you’re so locked in. I wish we would stick with music.”

A’s outfielder Robbie Grossman is also a fan of having music during games, though he’ll miss not having the usual bleacher crew behind him banging drums.

“I wish we could have fans, but this is where we’re at right now. We all have to adjust,” Grossman said. “Hopefully, sooner than later, we can have our great fans we have in the outfield back.”

Whether it is crowd noise or music, Melvin said either is better than having silence. A lack of noise could lead to dugouts overhearing each other during games, creating some contention.

“It’s good that we’re going about this process right now," Melvin said. "You want to get the best sound to where it’s not a distraction and both teams aren’t hearing what each other are saying."

A’s borrow prospects
After playing an eight-inning sim game on Wednesday, the A's longest of Summer Camp, they recalled two pitchers from their alternate training site in order to give some relievers a rest day.

James Kaprielian and Parker Dunshee, Oakland’s No. 11 and No. 27 prospects per MLB Pipeline, reported to Oakland and were available to pitch in Thursday’s sim game, which was only expected to go five innings.