Angels’ Anthony Rendon offers succinct opinion of piped-in crowd noise: It’s stupid

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon throws during practice.
In his first video conference with his new Angels team, third baseman Anthony Rendon said he’d prefer music to fake crowd noise during games.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

During a 2½-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.

Los Angeles Angels' Anthony Rendon smiles after batting during practice at Angels Stadium.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon smiles during batting practice at Angel Stadium on July 3.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

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.

“At this time, we have to be selfless toward everyone around us because we don’t know what everyone’s situation is,” he said. “And I think this is a good opportunity for us as a world to realize that selfishness doesn’t go a long way, so we have to look out for one another.”

He also supported the statement made by his former teammate and current Colorado Rockies player Ian Desmond, who criticized MLB’s “puzzling lack of focus” in its attempts to improve minority representation when he opted out of the 2020 season last week.

“I definitely felt for him,” said Rendon, who is of Mexican descent. “Black individuals aren’t the only ones that are part of this racism. Brown people get frowned upon just as much as Black people do, or any other race, whatever other color that anyone says they are. Racism is still very much alive in this world, and it’s unfortunate. … If we stop it at the youth and we change it from the youngest generation, then it has no opportunity to grow. I loved his explanation.”

With no fans allowed into MLB games for the start of this season, perhaps fans could gather in the stadium parking lots and watch on a big screen.

On the baseball front, Rendon is not concerned about the little he did to prepare for the abbreviated season. He said he is roughly 80% ready to go with two weeks remaining until opening day.

“If you played a sport [as a kid], a coach always tells you that you can’t turn it on and off like it’s a light switch,” he said. “You can’t just decide to show up whenever you want. But I think as we get older, we know what we need to do to prepare ourselves for a game.

“We can kind of turn it on and say, ‘We need to get down to business and I need to bear down because the real deal is about to happen.’ If the season started today I think a lot of the guys, including myself, would be ready and can actually perform out there and feel comfortable.”

Roster adjustments

Left-handed pitcher Patrick Sandoval and infielder Jared Walsh joined Angels camp after missing the first six days of workouts. The reasons for their absences were not disclosed. They were well enough to participate in baseball activities at Angel Stadium and Blair Field in Long Beach.

Outfield prospect Brandon Marsh, pitchers Jose Suarez and Julio Teheran, and infielders Matt Thaiss and Luis Rengifo were still missing.The team did not say why.

Only veteran starter Teheran has publicly explained his whereabouts, telling ESPN Deportes on Wednesday that he was awaiting the results of a coronavirus test.

In coming to grips with what could be lengthy absences from pitchers expected to play key roles, the Angels added right-hander Adrian De Horta and left-hander Adam Seminaris to their 60-man pool.
Seminaris, from Chino Hills, was the Angels’ fifth-round pick in last month’s draft. He had a 3.58 ERA in 173 2/3 innings at Long Beach State.

He shared on Twitter a photo of his new Angels jerseys in a locker at Blair Field.

Short hops

A hint of what to expect from home run celebrations: Air elbow bumps. Top prospect Jo Adell hit an opposite-field home run in a three-inning intrasquad game that featured primarily minor leaguers. As he crossed the plate, he lifted his arm parallel to the ground and mimed bumping elbows with the hitter on deck. … Manager Joe Maddon disagreed with Rendon’s assessment of piped-in crowd noise. “I liked it because I felt my focus was on the field. … I think you can be distracted by the quiet. I think you have a better chance of locking in with noise. It’s different. It’s not playing golf.”

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