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Baseball Season Starts Thursday, But Stands Will Be Empty. What Will You Miss Most About Going To Live Sporting Events?




 Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gives instruction to Kenley Jansen #74 as he enters the dugout during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Angels amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at Dodger Stadium on July 21, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gives instruction to Kenley Jansen #74 as he enters the dugout during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Angels amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at Dodger Stadium on July 21, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Harry How/Getty Images

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When fans click on the TV to watch the Dodgers and Angels play their opening games this week, they’re bound to notice some unusual new features.

For one, the stands will be completely empty. Well, of real people, anyway. Some teams like the Giants and Athletics are offering fans the opportunity to buy a cardboard cutout of themselves to put in the stands. Players will be wearing masks so long as they are not on the field, though some like New York Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier will still wear a mask even when they’re on the field or at the plate.

Both teams enter 2020 with high expectations. The Angels signed slugging third baseman Anthony Rendon and former Atlanta Braves ace Julio Teheran during the offseason, and they’re hoping for another MVP-caliber season out of Mike Trout, arguably one of the best players in the game, and for a healthy year for two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, who has showed promise in his first two MLB seasons but has struggled with injuries to his throwing elbow that have cut both campaigns short. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are odds-on favorites along with the Yankees to win the World Series and bring back most of their starting lineup from previous years. They also added a superstar in Mookie Betts, the former Red Sox outfielder who you could also argue is the best player in baseball.

Today on AirTalk, two L.A. Times sportswriters join guest host Libby Denkmann to help preview the abbreviated 2020 season for the Dodgers and Angels, talk about the big storylines they’re watching through the year, and explore how baseball will be different in the era of COVID-19.

With guest host Libby Denkmann

Guests:

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times reporter covering baseball and sports business; he tweets @BillShaikin

Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times sports writer who spent 19 years as a beat writer covering the Los Angeles Angels for the paper; he tweets @MikeDiGiovanna