Fake crowd noise isn’t a new issue for the Twins.
It’s just that during the 2020 baseball season, which will start without fans in attendance, bringing on the fake noise is being authorized and encouraged by Major League Baseball and will be put into play without reservation by its teams.
During the 1987 World Series, decibel levels at the Metrodome were one of the staples of the national broadcast, and there were questions about whether the sounds may have been, ummm, artificially enhanced.
The issue resurfaced a few years ago on, of all places, NBC Radio’s Pro Football Live show when host Mike Florio interviewed legendary broadcaster Al Michaels, who was the play-by-play announcer for ABC during that World Series.
Michaels told Florio that he was thinking at the time: “ ‘Wait a minute. This is a baseball game. Nobody is screaming like this when the fifth inning starts. To me, there was no question in my mind” that the crowd noise was fabricated, he said.
Twins president Dave St. Peter responded with nothing short of astonishment that such a claim would be brought back to life.
“At the end of the day, it continues to demonstrate a lack of appreciation and respect for Tom Kelly, Frank Viola, Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett, who came out of nowhere to win a championship,” St. Peter said. “I don’t think they needed any of the conspiracy theories out there to win that championship.”
Nope. Not at all, right. Not when the Twins, in winning the World Series in 1987 and 1991, went 8-0 at home.
And 0-6 on the road.
In case you’re wondering, the crowd noise you’ll be hearing from Target Field was culled from the “MLB The Show” video game, and includes about 75 assorted ballpark noises and crowd reactions.
One more note about noise.
After he retired as Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission executive director, Bill Lester characterized all of the rumbling about artificial noise at the Metrodome as an “urban myth.”
But in that same magazine article, published in 2013, Lester also acknowledged that the Vikings had an “eccentric” sound person who “could create even more sound or direct it at the bench of the opposing team. … They didn’t pump anything extra in.”
Creating even more sound? Not pumping in anything extra?
Something doesn’t add up there, right? How long until fake noise becomes an issue in 2020 beyond whether or not it’s a good thing?