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Archie Bradley is ready for some socially distanced, fan-free trash talk

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley points to a teammate after the team's 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in a baseball game in San Francisco, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

One of the defining moments of Archie Bradley’s career was, after pitching a clean top of the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, yelling out to Chase Field as he walked back to the dugout.

“This is our house! Let’s go!” he cried, not just for the Arizona Diamondbacks fans, but to all the blue shirts he saw in the crowd.

Another was after his two-run triple in the Wild Card game that same year: Bradley pointed up at the stands, yelled “Let’s go!” and pounded his chest.

This season, there won’t be any fans at Chase Field, in red shirts or blue. Bradley is curious how that will affect different facets of the game.

“I’m interested to hear the trash talk from guys,” he said in a Zoom call with media Friday. “See if people are as brave to shout things out at other players like they have in the past.”

Bradley, loud and rambunctious in personality, plans to continue talking the way he always does.

“I don’t think it’ll stop for me. Trash talking in the right way, never crossing the line – maybe crossing the line here or there, but – for me, that’s kind of what I love about baseball, the right way,” Bradley said.

“There’s a lot of buddy-buddy and a lot of hugging now. I have a lot of friends as well, but I want to win. I want to win bad. So for me when it comes to the white lines of playing and competing, there’s just things that come out of your mouth and things you do that only happen in competition, and so for me that’s not going to stop.”

While broadcast audio might pick up more of player conversations in general, it’s unlikely the atmosphere will be silent around the players. There’s talk of pumping in crowd noise — something Bradley thinks is necessary.

“After throwing in a stadium with nothing going on at all, they have to play something, in my opinion,” Bradley said. “Cause the pitching with no noise today was, it was weird.”

Even with fake fan noise, the league can’t replicate the chatter that naturally arises from tens of thousands of fans talking and vendors selling food during the game. Even with the audio, pitchers will hear home runs clank off the bleachers. They’ll hear the echos reverberate from a ball striking a mitt.

But they’ve all been there before, years ago. Bradley said players will have to take a “high school approach” to the games. They’ll just have to get re-accustomed to it while not losing competitiveness without the fans around.

“Kind of like the way we all used to play coming up,” he said. “It’s kind of going to be, I think, a fun little throwback for us.”


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