The Los Angeles Dodgers will face the San Francisco Giants in their season opener at Dodger Stadium tonight with an opening day unlike any other in their illustrious 131-season history.
Instead of the customary 53,000-plus capacity crowd, no one will be sitting in Dodger Stadium's seats because of public health directives prohibiting public events and gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 4,500 seats will be filled by 18-inch by 30-inch cutouts of fans which cost $149 for field and loge-level locations and $299 for the Dugout Club or the new Pavilion Home Run Seats.
Sales of the cutouts has raised approximately $800,000 for the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the team's official charity, whose mission is to improve education, health care, homelessness and social justice for all Angelenos.
Public address announcer Todd Leitz, stadium DJ Lanier Stewart, known as DJ Severe, and organist Dieter Ruehle will all be on site at Dodger Stadium in an attempt to create as normal a game day atmosphere as possible.
Dodger broadcaster Charley Steiner will call all games from his living room in Brentwood on the advice of his doctor because he has medical conditions that put him at high risk for the coronavirus. His broadcast partner Rick Monday will be at Dodger Stadium tonight and for other home games.
With the absence of fans in the stadium, all 30 MLB teams will use ambient and reactionary background audio to create crowd sounds during the season. MLB is providing each team with an array of crowd sounds and a touchpad device that can be integrated into their ballpark sound system to help manage the playing of the sounds.
The crowd sounds will be audible to on-field personnel and during television and radio broadcasts.
The crowd backgrounds and reactions provided to the teams are all derived from exclusive, original source audio recorded by developers of the MLB The Show video game at MLB regular season games.
The audio was edited into sound cues used in MLB The Show 20, with a focus on authentically replicating crowd sound and behavior. Selected content was then further refined for real-time playback over ballpark audio systems and allows for about 75 different effects and reactions to be used during a game.
The crowd sounds will work in conjunction with stadium announcers, walkup music and in-stadium video to replicate the in-game experience as closely as possible.
"You can’t emulate 56,000 people here jazzed up for Dodger baseball,” Justin Turner told DodgerBlue.com. "But speaking to the crowd noise, it’s way better than having nothing in the stadium and just silence. I enjoyed it. It gave me a little bit of adrenaline just having that noise and random cheers."
The game is scheduled to start at 7:08 pm.