Cubs' Ian Happ: Piped-In Ballpark Noise Felt 'Real'

"It's definitely closer and closer to what a real game feels like," Happ says.

Dan Bernstein Show
July 15, 2020 - 10:35 am
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(670 The Score) The Cubs conducted an intrasquad game at Wrigley Field on Tuesday evening with the ballpark empty but a little added ambience.

Wrigley Field featured piped-in ballpark noise for the Cubs' workout and scrimmage, including idle crowd noise and music. The video boards offered the usual displays for each player -- and even showcased the attendance figure.

With the start of the unprecedented 60-game MLB season looming on July 24, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ is settling into what will be difference circumstances with no fans in the stands.

"It definitely felt more real," Happ said on the Dan Bernstein Show on Wednesday. "It definitely felt like, all right, I can see how when the cameras are on, when there's going to be another team across the field from you, it's going to be exactly like baseball, just without people in the seats. But I think the Wrigley rooftops are going to help us out too.

"I need it as a player, for sure. We played the first two games without it and it was very strange. Just a little too quiet. You could hear everything that was going on."

It's unclear whether MLB teams will be able to host any fans in their ballparks this season. They would need clearance from local authorities to do so. The Cubs have been drawing up plans to host a limited number of fans later in the season, but the city hasn't granted that permission yet. The state of Illinois will permit attendance of up to 20% capacity for outdoor stadiums and venues.

The rooftops across from Wrigley Field are planning to allow spectators at a limited capacity, offering a little bit of normalcy.

Wrigley Field won't include cardboard cutout fans like some ballparks, but the noise of a crowd is what some players like Happ want for this season.

"We're so used to that kind of dull hum of the crowd the entire time, it really helped me just with the way that we communicate with our outfielders," Happ said. "Not being able to scream to them across the field, just some of that stuff, it just made it a little bit more normal. 

"Stepping in the box to completely silent stadium was strange. You need a little bit of a hum. You need something that kind of makes it a little bit more realistic -- I guess it makes the field more focused.

"It's definitely closer and closer to what a real game feels like."