LOS ANGELES -- During a 2 1/2-hour intrasquad game this week, the Angels experimented with piping artificial crowd noise through the stadium's speaker system. Other teams around baseball have tried the same thing. They all wonder if piped-in ruckus can offset the absence of fans, who aren't expected to attend many games this season, if any.
Anthony Rendon, the Angels' top free-agent acquisition last winter, didn't need long to offer his opinion on the idea.
"It was stupid," he said.
So playing in a silent ballpark might be better?
"Definitely. Without a doubt," Rendon said Thursday. "It's like you have two of your senses that aren't coinciding with one another. It's like you're looking at a pizza, but you're smelling a hamburger. You hear noise, but you know nobody's in the stands. You don't see anybody.
"I think it was dumb. I'd rather listen to music."
In his first video conference with reporters since the outbreak of the coronavirus shut down spring training in mid-March, Rendon was all smiles. He joked about pawning his 2019 World Series ring, which he received via mail from the Washington Nationals that morning, and poked fun at himself for not doing much baseball activity during the hiatus.
"A lot of mental hacks, mental ground balls, mental throws. Not really too much," said Rendon, whose wife gave birth to the couple's second child in February. "I'd throw a tennis ball against the wall, maybe. I have a machine that I could put on and simulate some swings."
But during his 20-minute virtual sit-down, the 30-year-old third baseman provided an introspective look at the state of baseball.
He took exception with the negotiations between the league and players being characterized as a battle over salary. He said it was more important to players that appropriate health and safety protocols were established so they could protect the well-being of family, staff and team members.