It's weird, different, awkward -- so many things, but it's the norm these days.
The A's, and every team across the league are playing in front of cardboard cutouts which were placed there to simulate true fans attending games. That, in addition to piped-in crowd noise, should be able to make it feel more normal, right? Chris Bassitt begs to differ.
"I think we as athletes kind of took fans for granted before all of this, and now, as the first two games kind of got played out, I've kind of realized I think the majority of us have realized the true value of a fan -- especially at a game," Bassitt told reporters on Sunday. "Just because -- I'm not saying going through the emotions by any means, but it's definitely a different game."
"The energy that every game has is just drastically different," Bassitt added. "It's very awkward, it really is."
Especially for him as a pitcher.
"Sitting in the stands as a starter, I absolutely hate it, I despise it," Bassitt said. "I think this kind of has shown us how truly important fans are. I've talked to a couple position players about it and it's a drastically different environment to play a game and, like I said, you just got to push through and understand what the main goal is."
Both the lack of fans and the nature of where he is sitting play into some of the things Bassitt and others, are having to adjust to.
That group has to sit now right above the dugout in a shaded area. An area that isn't giving him a leg up from what he's used to. If anything, it makes it more difficult from his normal views.
"The whole thing is strange, just talking about me personally I hate it, but that's how we're playing the game," Bassitt said.
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For Bassitt, and his outgoing personality, he likes to talk to other starters in the dugout prior to his start -- a characteristic opposite of Sean Manaea who prefers to be left alone. Now, the starters need to sit in that designated area, four rows away. Not in as close of contact with one another as they're used to with the ability to bounce tips and ideas off of one another.
"That aspect of it is going to be tough," Bassitt said. "I think we all have the opportunity to watch each other and say ‘Hey, what's going on?' but unfortunately with the circumstances, we have, we don't really have the opportunity to talk with each other during the game so it's more so ‘This is what we saw' after the game."
Bassitt said the rules and guidelines eliminate them from communicating as they're used to, but credited the majority of the veteran staff, minus Jesus Luzardo, of course, that this might not be a huge issue in the long run.
Now it's not as strict as you might think, however, Bassitt said. Pitchers can still relay messages if need be, but he admits he is still trying to figure it all out in this trial period of sorts. But he appreciated previous words from Brett Anderson and Sonny Gray, who would be able to quickly pull him aside and give him some advice.
"The whole environment is just very awkward," Bassitt said.
Chris Bassitt feels empty stadiums shows players took fans for granted originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area