The Night The Audio System Failed At Yankee Stadium

30  Minutes Of Baseball Bliss As The Audio System At Yankee Stadium Fails – September 14, 2017

9 14 17 Yankee Stadium audio difficulties signThey say if you go to a baseball game there’s always a chance you’ll see something you’ve never seen before.

But it’s not only what I had never seen before, but what I didn’t hear. What happened Thursday, September 14, 2017 during a Yankees – Orioles game was unusual.

For the first time in my life, I attended a major league baseball game and the national anthem was not played before the start of the game. No, it wasn’t the second game of a real doubleheader (remember those?)

Not only was the national anthem not played, no sound was heard in the ballpark except the cheers of the crowd, calls of the vendors and crack of the bat.

What happened was a rarity and brought me back to the time when people came to a ballpark to watch baseball. Nowadays fans are distracted by gimmicks during the game: from loud music to the in-between inning entertainment of a three card monte version of a baseball hidden under a hat on the scoreboard.

I’ve made it clear in past stories that I don’t like the antiseptic mall, imitating a ballpark that is now called Yankee Stadium.

There are dozens of reasons why I don’t like the new stadium, but one of the top ten reasons is the unnecessary NOISE!!!!

Given a free ticket on Thursday I was sitting on the first base line. I noticed soon after I arrived at 6:55 pm that the stadium which was filling with fans was not blasting the typical junk they call music at ear-splitting levels over the public address system. Then I quickly realized there were no announcements being made either. The stadium was quiet.

As they say on the History Channel’s The Curse of Oak IslandCould it be….”

…that the Yankees have realized that many of their customers do not like crappy hip-hop, rap, disco, Michael Jackson or Bruno Mars being played over loudspeakers at 130 decibels?

Could it be…that the patrons came to see a baseball game and not watch commercials for products they don’t need or want?

Maybe the stadium’s audio person went to the bathroom. No that was not the answer. Within a few minutes a message appeared on the video scoreboard that explained it all-

WE ARE EXPERIENCING AUDIO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE

The sound system at Yankee Stadium had failed before the game started!

 

Apologize? Inconvenience?

This “technical difficulty” was one the greatest things I have experienced at a baseball game in my life.

What inconvenience were the Yankees referring to? The “inconvenience” of not having the Yankee audio system playing deafening music every 30 seconds for no apparent reason except to shatter the natural ambience of the ballpark? I’ll take that inconvenience any time.

Now the question was how long would this slice of heaven last?

A planned pre-game tribute to recently deceased Yankee executive Gene Michael had to be scrapped. The starting batting line-ups were not announced.

At 7:12 pm the Yankees took the field and the national anthem had not been played.

You could hear the people in the stands chattering and talking to one another. There were vendors giving their cries, “beer here!” and “Ice cream.”

Then the game started. The Baltimore Orioles came up first. Who was batting?  No announcement could be made. Look up on the scoreboard. It’s Tim Beckham. The crowd cheered as Masahiro Tanaka retired the Orioles in order.

At the end of the top of the first, in between innings no commercials were played. No announcements for Lays potato chips or a ridiculous sponsored contest.

The bottom of the first arrived and still no sound from the P.A. system.

No walk-up music. (the 6 seconds of usually unintelligible music the player coming to bat wants played as he approaches the plate.

When the players were in the middle of an at bat, there was no playing Harry Bellafonte’s “Day -Oh.”  No Ramones, “Hey-Ho Let’s, Go.” No thunderclaps of the beginning of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Not a peep from the audio system disturbed the zen of natural ballpark sounds.

Without the sound system or an organist stirring up things or the giant screen above center field  directing you to “Make Noise,” the fans spontaneously began to cheer and clap rhythmically. Let’s go Yankees was chanted with runners on base. No audio prompting necessary.

Every crack of the bat could be heard as the Yankees pounded Wade Miley. When there was a hit the fans knew how to react.

The Yankees scored six runs in the bottom of the first and then….my bliss ended. The second inning began and at about 7:30 the sound system was fixed.

Did any of the fans care that there was no sound for 30 minutes? I doubt it. The players had noticed the difference.

“After we got the six runs, I wanted to tell them, ‘Don’t play anything, keep it silent, it’s kind of working for us,’ ” Aaron Judge said, smiling. “It was a little funky to begin with, but once you step out on that field, it’s still baseball.”

“It was weird,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

After the public address system was repaired fans returned to their Pavlovian sheep-like behavior to make noise and dance in the aisles when commanded to. This night, It wasn’t as loud as it usually gets when the make noise sign gets flashed.

Did the Yankees management learn any lessons from this “inconvenience?”

That maybe they don’t need to “entertain” their customers with unnecessary noise and interruptions? That maybe a little quiet every now and then is okay? That fans can figure out when to generate their own excitement?

Nope. Things have returned to” normal” and I’m sure the noise will endure in the future.

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3 thoughts on “The Night The Audio System Failed At Yankee Stadium

  1. Clyde

    My last Yankee Stadium visit was in the early 2000s. At some point during the games back then they would blast a revolting bunch of noise called Cotton Eye Joe with a silly cartoon of a guy dancing around or something flashing on the scoreboard. I’m a fan of classic CW music from the 50s and 60s, but this abomination would almost make me sick when it played. Do they still assault the fans with that audio/visual blitzkrieg?

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