Baseball is back, and judging by the ratings, fans are happy, even if the season is starting in the middle of the summer.
But this isn’t exactly the baseball fans know and love.
In the age of COVID-19, the stadiums are mostly empty since fans aren’t allowed to attend games in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Cutouts took the place of fans, and while they look a little creepy, you soon get used to them. Fans of the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s can even purchase a cutout likeness that will be placed in the stands. If your cutout gets hit by a foul ball at an A’s game, the team will mail you the ball, according to The Chronicle.
But lifeless cutouts don’t move, so in the era of CGI, Fox Sports decided to take things one step further with computer-generated fans in the stands, and the reactions so far haven’t been positive.
Fox’s digital fans gotta go. Just a ton of dudes alternating resting their chin in their hand and then 2-second delayed reactions. pic.twitter.com/fLh7EYXTMX
— Matt Young (@Chron_MattYoung) July 25, 2020
The complaints on Twitter range from “it just looks bad” to being “distracting,” mostly because of Fox Sports’ poor implementation, like an ’80s sci-fi movie with bad special effects (hey, Fox, maybe get ILM involved) or a PlayStation or Xbox baseball game.
I’m not really on board with the fake digital fans in the stands anyway (feels super dystopian), but so far, the way FOX is deploying it makes it even worse. It’s intermittent, goes on and off within back-to-back shots, and it just looks bad.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) July 25, 2020
Congrats, Fox Sports on EASILY the worst solution to empty baseball stadiums. The combination of crowd noise that’s pumped way too loud in the soundtrack and edits around the stadium featuring inconsistently added digital fans is 100% only a distraction and not an enhancement.
— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) July 25, 2020
And if you hate the wave at baseball games, then you’re really going to hate a computer-generated wave at a baseball game.
Absolutely cursed wave. pic.twitter.com/RVzCmc2lMu
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 25, 2020
Fox has got #SFGiants fans out there doing the wave, not cool
— zeldaA. (@zeldaA_S) July 25, 2020
While it’s cool to have Tom Hanks voice a vendor at fan-less A’s games, it’s probably not a good idea to have a CGI Tom Hanks being seen hawking hot dogs at A’s games.
Matthew Tom is a Homepage Editor at SFGATE. Email: [email protected].