Assuming the A’s return to playing baseball in 2020, there will be no fans in attendance. Given that, Oakland’s television broadcasts could be among the most watched -- and most different -- for veteran broadcaster Glen Kuiper.
“We have a major responsibly coming up as announcers,” Kuiper said. “I have thought a lot about what the broadcast is going to be like. Should it be different? I’ve also said maybe don’t overthink it.”
Resources and plans are constantly changing, but the approach likely will remain simple.
“What people really want, desperately, is to see their team and their players on the field playing meaningful games,” Kuiper said.
The likely television-centric season across MLB could lead to unprecedented broadcast enhancements. One such idea being proposed is wireless microphones on players during gameplay. Kuiper is hopeful for additions like in that realm, if the players are comfortable.
But he also realizes screaming his signature home run call -- “That Baby Is Gone!” -- into a headset will be different, if he’s literally the only spectator in the stadium screaming.
“That certainly makes the job more difficult for announcers,” Kuiper said. “We feed off fans. Whether there’s 10,000 or 40,000, you feed off that. It pushes you in excitement level. That’s a challenge for all of us announcers.”
Another challenge will be access to players. Often times, pregame conversations around the dugout or batting cages can lead to insightful commentary for fans.
“You ask questions, you get tidbits, things that you can talk about on the broadcast,” Kuiper explained. “Those opportunities face to face are probably not going to happen, to be honest with you.”
While the amount of games continues to be negotiated between MLB and its players, a shortened season guarantees increased relevance.
“The ‘dog days’ of June and July, that ain't happening this year,” Kuiper said. “That’s an excitement level I’m kind of looking forward to, each game really is a big deal -- twice as big as a normal season.”
“There’s still going to be a trophy at the end of the year, and there’s no reason why the A’s don’t have a really good chance to get it.”