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Dan Shaughnessy

Having no fans in the stands won’t be all bad

It has become automatic (and tiresome) for fans behind the basket to try to distract an opposing free throw shooter.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

If professional sports resume in July, August, or September, it’s going to unfold without fans in the stands.

We don’t know if promoters will try cardboard cutouts, crash-test dummies, carpool-lane mannequins, or blowup dolls to populate the seats. And we don’t know about simulated crowd noise. Teams and leagues might go the Indianapolis Colts route and pump in artificial crowd noise.

This could give Miami Sound Machine a whole new meaning. Maybe teams will play Kenny G and “Jock Jams.” The summer and fall of 2020 could be a good time for Queen with lots of “We Are The Champions,” “We Will Rock You,” and "Another One Bites The Dust.''


I know what I’m rooting for: the sounds of silence. And I don’t mean Simon and Garfunkel’s epic hit.

Let’s have some peace and quiet. Do not disturb. Fenway Park could become like the reading room at the Boston Public Library.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to in a potential no-fans/no-noise sports zone of 2020:

▪ No jackass yelling "Get in the hole!'' every time a PGA player putts from 25 feet.

▪ No more fan interference on baseballs hit down the first- and third-base lines. Ditto for popups that carry toward the dugouts or backstop. My colleague Bob Ryan has recommended appendage dismemberment for this offense, which I think is a tad harsh. But it would be nice if fan interference went away forever.

▪ No one chanting "airrrrr-ballllll!'' every time an NBA shooter fails to graze iron. The airball taunt is weak and should be retired when fans eventually return.

▪ No nauseating singalong to “Sweet Caroline” when the Red Sox come to bat trailing, 14-1, in the bottom of the eighth. I happily close my eyes and imagine a Fenway world with no Neil Diamond. So good. So good. So good.


▪ No shameless appearances by freedom fighter Bob Kraft blowing kisses to the Garden masses when he appears on the Jumbotron.

▪ You will hear the sound of a baseball crashing off the Wall at Fenway.

▪ Jarrett Stidham won’t have to raise his arms to silence the Gillette crowd when the undefeated Patriots close in on another rushing touchdown against the Bills. If Stid gains 10 yards on a naked bootleg, we won’t hear the annoying PA announcement of "10-yard gain by Stidham and that’s good for . . . another . . . Patriot . . . (fans join) first down!!!''

▪ Nonstop F-bombs blurted from the court, the ice, the grid, and the diamond. Good luck to the broadcast partners. Too bad Earl Weaver and Billy Martin are no longer with us.

▪ No Wave.

▪ No Bills Mafia.

▪ No KissCam.

▪ No Terrible Towels, Homer Hankies, or Thunder Stix.

▪ No grown men with dad bods and cargo shorts taking the family to a baseball game while wearing a replica Mookie Betts jersey.

▪ No T-shirt rocket launchers.

▪ No fans running on the field during a rain delay or a pause in the action. The Yankee Stadium security force can stand down from the beatdowns. No Matt Chatham moment for the Patriots.

▪ No Spike Lee or Jay-Z.

▪ No home runs balls hit by visitors getting thrown back from the outfield stands.

▪ No Tomahawk Chops.

▪ No nitwit behind the backstop screaming, "Come on, Blue, get in the game!'' after the first pitch of the first inning.


▪ No immature booing of Adam Vinatieri when he lines up for a kick against the Patriots (wonder if Vinatieri will ever get into the Patriots Hall of Fame).

▪ No idiotic demonstrations behind the basket, attempting to distract the shooter when a player is attempting a free throw.

▪ NBA trash talk should be memorable. Imagine if we could have heard Larry Bird, Cedric Maxwell, M.L. Carr & Co. taunting the Lakers back in 1984? If Kevin Garnett made Glen Davis cry during a 2020 playoff game, we’d know what KG said to Big Baby.

▪ No adults asking players for autographs, or knocking kids to the ground to retrieve foul balls that should be for kids only.

▪ No need for the Kyrie Irving appreciation video when Irving finally plays his first game against the Celtics.

▪ No Fireman Ed and "J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!''

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.