Does loud equal fun?

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers (March 29, 2013)

“Boy, the music is loud,” said Vin Scully with some apparent irritation as the Dodger broadcast came back from commercial tonight, before following with his usual geniality, “Let’s get back to this one.”

It was the top of the sixth inning – typical storytelling time for Scully – but one of two things happened. Either the telecast came back too late to capture the bulk of a story for which “Boy, the music is loud” was the punchline, or the music was just so loud that no one could think straight.

It doesn’t really matter, because this much we know: The music at Dodger Stadium is loud.

And here’s the thing. One assumes the music is loud because loud equals fun in the modern-day math. But what I don’t understand is whom they’re making it loud for.

In general, older people a) don’t want loud music and b) have more trouble hearing than younger people. So if the music was a touch softer, it would still be plenty loud for the hipsters, and the old folk would be just as happy.

This is before we even address how rarely Nancy Bea Hefley gets to play anymore.  Am I wrong? Millennials, give me the straight scoop. I know how writing this makes me sound, but would anyone care if there were fewer decibels at the diamond?

  • Anonymous

    The stadium didn’t seem appreciably louder to me. But the in game hosts were a distraction. And the complete lack of video highlights of other games. And I went to the stadium Tuesday when Yu Darvish almost threw a perfect game. But that was ignored throughout the game and for most of the game, the Texas-Houston score was listed under “NL”.

    • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

      “the in game hosts”

      The what? At the stadium or on TV? I saw Game One on ESPN and Game Two on PT, but it was blacked out on ESPN2 for Hawai’i, so I couldn’t see tonight’s game. Where were these hosts to be found?

    • Anonymous

      The ‘Stros have a Director of Decision Sciences?

  • Geoff

    I went tonight, the volume was much louder than opening day and offensive at times. And almost no Nancy Bea during the game. Hopefully Vin’s comments will wake them up.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of sound, last night I was soundless on Gameday, but I noticed the graphic had what to me is a new speaker in centerfield. Had I just never noted it before? Gameday updates its stadium graphics every year?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543074503 Chris Nelson

    As a Millenial (30 years old so on the upper end) I would gladly trade terrible loud music for the sultry tones of Nancy Bea anyday.

  • Steve Anderson

    I was there on Opening Day, and it didn’t seem to be all that loud. Looks like Geoff thought it was later last night than OD, but some folks were saying OD was too loud. The one thing I did notice was a horrible horrible echo. It was so bad that a lot of the time I couldn’t really understand what was being said because the echo was doubling up on the original sound.

  • Anonymous

    I was there Friday and again On Tuesday. Didn’t notice that it was louder on those nights but I did notice what appear to be different speakers in center field and I’m absolutely sure the sound quality is worse. There’s more bass but everything is muddled. Can’t understand anything being said over the system. I wonder if part of what feels like louder is just that its got more bass and its less clear. In other words, it’s just annoying. Maybe they also turned it up last night. There has been talk of a sound system upgrade since McCourt. Hopefully that’s still to come.

  • Adam Luther

    A portion of the $100M went towards the installation of a new sound system and they haven’t fine tuned it yet?

  • Anonymous

    Dustin Nosler at Feelin’ Kinda Blue makes reference to the possibility of Puig playing third base. First I’ve heard of Puig being anything other than an outfielder. Anyone……..?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I think you misunderstood what Nosler wrote.

      ” Either spring-training-sensation-not-named Yasiel Puig Brian Barden or Rusty Ryal should start at third base.”

      In other words, Barden or Ryal.

      It’d be great if Puig was a third baseman right now, but he’s not.

      • Anonymous

        Yep. I went back and reread it and I certainly saw that wrong. Thx.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    I wasn’t making the case that the music was louder than it has been. I’m just saying that it’s louder than it needs to be.

    • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

      Haven’t experienced the new sound system for myself yet, but from all the different blogs I read it seems to be a hot topic. I think someone should notify the PR department with the Dodgers and let them know it’s taking away from the actual enjoyment of the game.
      On another note: Post it and they will come ^_^

    • Anonymous

      Louder than it has been, and louder than it needs to be. Thanks for writing about this.

  • Steve Hall

    I’m a Boomer…and in my old fogey opinion, no music (except Nancy Bea) would be just fine between innings–we’d be able to chat with our neighbors, instead of trying to yell over the music.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1172439252 Michael Green

    I am 48 and went to an ENT for a checkup. He said my hearing is normal for someone my age. I thought that was great until I realized that I have never been to a rock concert at decibel 10. As for the ballpark, I noticed on Tuesday night how loud the music was and thought, are they trying to puncture our eardrums?

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    I myself like walk up music, various in game rally noise (clapping sound, organ, etc.), and Nancy Bea between innings

  • Anonymous

    So nice to see posts and comments on my favorite Dodgers site. Thanks Jon for whatever time you can spare.

  • http://twitter.com/michael_mcclain Michael McClain

    I’m 22. Went to the game Tuesday night, and didn’t find it to be overly loud. But I was sitting in the reserve section, which I’ve heard doesn’t receive the full capacity of the new speakers. Still, I’m definitely on the More Nancy Bea campaign. Nancy Bea > Gangnam Style/Taylor Swift/One Direction/etc.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Blanton gave up 3 Hr’s and almost a 4th…of course this is at Cincy but still too many

  • Anonymous

    Jon: Very pleased to see your posts.

  • Anonymous

    For the most part I don’t like loud anything. Unless Vinny is doing the game I’m fine watching a game with NO sound. And I hate walk up music. Why don’t they play walk back music when a multi millionaire walks back to the dugout after striking out with the bases loaded?

    • Anonymous

      Me too. At home, if it’s no Vinnie, it’s the MUTE button for me. The magic of the DVR means that if I see something that actually needs non-Scully exposition, I can rewind and un-mute for as long as necessary.

  • Anonymous

    I never found the noise at DS to be too loud; hope that hasn’t changed for the worse. It’s inescapably loud at some other parks I’ve been to. The Braves spring training site at Disney World was the worst. You literally could not carry on a conversation.

    I don’t know that you’ll get a representative sampling here, however, since this is a self-selecting group of rather cerebral fans. I imagine the new owners are more concerned about capturing the casual fans who don’t really care about the game, and are more interested in doing the wave, batting beach balls, and yelling Cruuuuuuz.

    • Anonymous

      How long before Cruuuuuuz turns into boooooooo?

      • Anonymous

        Crua doesn’t make enough money to get booed. Fans have no expectations for a light-hitting utility infielder who makes smooth plays at shortstop. You have to suck a whole lot to get booed at that position. If Uribe were making $700K per year instead of $7 million, nobody would boo him. (If he made so little money, the Dodgers would have cut him)

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

          Agreed.

        • Anonymous

          Agreed on the money, but fans have sometimes unreasonable expectations of every player on the field. Kemp and Cruz are both 0 for 10, want to bet that Cruz will hear boos before Kemp if neither turns around quickly?

          • Anonymous

            I disagree completely. I believe Kemp will hear the boos long before Cruz will because he is expected to put up numbers for the money he’s getting. Cruz is expected to play defense and occasionally get a hit.

            Nobody ever booed Jason Repko. But the boos were loudest for Andruw Jones because the dollars were largest.

          • Anonymous

            I booed Jim Tracy (in my head – I never actually boo) for playing Repko. Wasn’t Repko’s fault that he stunk. Lord knows he tried hard.

        • Anonymous

          Sunk costs are sunk. It shouldn’t matter how big his salary is. If playing him is worse for the team than not playing him (I’m talking about Uribe) then he should be released. Don’t compound a poor contract decision with a poor managerial one.

  • foul tip

    Another early season issue….Kevin Gregg released after apparently refusing to report to Abq.

    His career numbers–apart from however much a bunch of saves are worth–aren’t overly impressive. He’s not exactly young.

    But he did well in ST–however much that’s worth. Donnie raved about him and said the team was trying to work out keeping him. I expected it would and probably option Paco until the glut of starters is resolved, allowing Paco to be recalled so the team could keep both. But no.

    The team seems to have misplayed this, at least PR-wise. Apparently Gregg never bought into the whole idea of being stashed at AAA until needed, saying repeatedly he wouldn’t report to the minors.

    His situation didn’t have to go down the way it did. A needless distraction for the players.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Seems like a distraction only for Gregg, who couldn’t wait out what’s happening with Harang – whose future is truly up in the air. Gregg possibly might have contributed, but I’m relieved that the Dodgers didn’t let Spring Training numbers compel them into making a bad deal to free up a space for him.

      • foul tip

        Unlike Dodger fans would be in his situation, he just wants an MLB job, Dodgers or elsewhere. Hard to fault that, from a player’s perspective. He has no guarantee that if he went to Abq he’d be called up later and may think that after his strong spring chances of catching on somewhere are as good now as they’ll ever be .

  • http://twitter.com/jLo719 Jessica LoGuercio

    I was in the Reserved Section behind the Dodger Dugout on Opening Day….the sound system sounded muddled, and many of the anouncements were cut off at the beginning, like someone forgot to hit the button,

  • Anonymous

    I’m with Vin if he says the music’s TOO loud, but I still like music. I’d actually like more of it at the stadium. Maybe somehow they can make it like background noise or something.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman
  • Anonymous

    This is a big deal to me. I’m a millenial. A touring rock musician, to boot. So I’m far from inherently biased against loud noise. But I noticed at some point last season that there’s some crowd-pumping noise playing over the PA between EVERY SINGLE PITCH. Not to mention the inane walk-up songs the players pick out for themselves, as if that gives them some competative edge. Now they’ve jacked up the PA, and I’ve been wondering the same thing as you, Jon: who would be upset if there were less and quiter music, sound effects, etc.? Nobody. Are casual fans really demanding all this ruckus? All that’s being accomplished is the alienation of baseball fans. It’s a travesty that they have a world-class organist sitting on her hands practically the whole game.

    There’s but one thing guiding all these “fan-friendly” “improvements”: fear. Fear of being outdated and out-of-touch. Magic wants to turn the Dodger Stadium experience into an NBA game.

    • http://web.me.com/kakitadoug/geekblog/Blog/Blog.html DougS

      “There’s but one thing guiding all these “fan-friendly” “improvements”: fear. Fear of being outdated and out-of-touch.”

      I believe that you have found the bullseye. :-) This business with the music just smacks of one of those organizational decisions that no one really likes, but they keep quiet because they think it’s popular with everyone else.

  • Anonymous

    Waht a relief to find others object to PA volume levels at DS. I thought it was just me all this time.
    – twaseverthus, good point–and that last paragraph scares me.

    Hoping they don’t try this oppressive loudness approach at our CCCL stadium this year, we got season tickets.

    -on second thought, I don’t think they could afford a PA system with enough raw power to reach that level of annoyance.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    I haven’t been yet this year to hear the new speakers but have never thought the music to be too loud in past trips to Dodger Stadium. But I am 26 and am also frequently stuffed into little LA venues listing to live bands play much louder.

    Also, is that photograph some sort of tease after the last two games, what with a certain Cuban man-child right up front? ;)

  • Anonymous

    Not as good as I had hoped, but amusing on Amish baseball.
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112616/amish-baseball-boys-lancaster

    • Anonymous

      I thought it was quite good; on civilization and its discontents. Thanks for the link.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, you are right. I guess I wanted more on baseball.

  • Jack Dawkins

    To me it has been too loud for a long time. I define too loud as anythting that makes it difficult to fcarry on a conversation with the people you are sitting with. The biggest offenders are the commercials. I am not opposed to commercials and music, but it should be background to a conversation, not in active competition with one. If you think you have to try and create artificial excitement to keep people interested in the game, then you have no faith in your product.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve voiced my displeasure to the Dodgers about the loud music (and the diminished organ music play time) for years. My complaints seem to have fallen on deaf ears. I’m in my late 30s, not quite a millenial, but not exactly a “get off my lawn” type either.

  • Anonymous

    In fact, the response I got most recently from a Dodger season ticket rep was, “Every other pro sports team is doing it (playing loud music). Look at the Kings.”

    We are the Dodgers. This is baseball. Since when have we had to mirror what our local hockey team does?

  • Michael Post

    I always thought one of the great features of going to a ballgame, especially a Dodger ballgame, was the great organ music. It’s sad to see it supplanted by the crap that passes for music today.

  • Sun Triton

    I (27) recently moved out to Arizona, but when my dad came out to visit for some Spring Training games I made the same type of observation. Between almost every pitch they would play some sound effect or music and it got old really fast, especially since it seemed to be “everybody clap your hands” every third time. It was loud, repetitive, and it actually detracted from the game a bit just because I was noticing it so often.

    I definitely understand the need to please casual fans and have stuff going on a lot of the time, but I feel like having walk-up music for batters should be enough while the rest of the inning can be focused on baseball (with some organ music for delays, pitching changes, between innings, etc.). It was actually refreshing to go to a game at the A’s complex because it was such a stark contrast – there was absolutely no music being played between pitches and I just got to take in a game. I actually really appreciated that.

    To make another, smaller point, a lot of times when I go to games, when I’m not watching I’m talking with my friends or the people next to me. Having to talk over loud noises detracts from the social aspect of baseball that, I think, made it really popular. Before sound systems and everything else people would catch a game and socialize with fellow baseball fans, and that’s part of the whole baseball experience for a lot of casual fans. A lot of my friends who aren’t as fanatical about baseball as I often say that they like going to games, sitting back, having a few beers, and just shooting the breeze. I really hope the music isn’t so loud that it gets in the way of that.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    New post up top.