There’s nothing quite like the sound of a baseball game, is there? The crack of the bat. The soft hiss of cleats on turf. The sound of 10,000 digital ghosts, screaming their torment while an unseen puppetmaster yanks carelessly on their strings. That’s America, baby!
Said grim vision into a hell that somehow defies Sartre (by being the pronounced lack of other people, if you catch our drift) comes to us today courtesy of Fox Sports, which seems to believe that it’s settled on the perfect way to overcome COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings at baseball games: Loading up 5,000 concurrent copies of The Sims, then having their doomed participants cheer along for the benefit of the at-home audience.
Admittedly, there’s something a little eerie about watching professional athletes play sports sans any crowd whatsoever. But that’s nothing compared to seeing stands full of blurry human doppelgangers, watching the games play out with carefully programmed glee. (Or woe: For some reason, they made sure the Simu-crowds could also boo, which is extremely funny to us.) It’s a B- episode of Black Mirror just waiting to happen, as our planet’s various pundits race themselves to exhaustion trying to be the first to get their “Hey, why don’t they just simulate the players, too?” commens in. Meanwhile, the virtu-fans just watch. Watch, and wait.