A Taiwanese baseball league played its first game of the 2020 season on Sunday without any live fans and instead filled its stadium seats with mannequins and cardboard cutouts.
The Rakuten Monkeys squared off against the Chinatrust Brothers at the Monkeys’ home stadium, the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Players, stadium staff, and cheerleaders were all in attendance, but in deference to coronavirus social distancing recommendations, the stands remained people-free. Instead, cheerleaders snapped photos with fake human cardboard cutouts and mannequins, some of which were actually robots.
“Since we are not allowed to have any fans in attendance, we might as well have some fun with it,” Rakuten Monkeys’ general manager Justin Liu told CPBL Stats. “We went with 500 robot mannequins to comply with the current CDC guideline.”
The game was broadcast live to fans who wanted to watch despite not being allowed in the stadium, according to The New York Post.
The league’s players are living in dorm-style housing and can only travel to and from the baseball stadium in order to keep them safe during the outbreak, according to an NBC News report.
The game had been scheduled to be played on Saturday but was delayed one additional day due to inclement weather.
The start of the Chinese league’s season comes as talks are reportedly underway in the US over how to play games amid the ongoing pandemic. The Major League Baseball season was supposed to start on March 26 but was delayed due to COVID-19. Reports suggest MLB will attempt to start the season sometime during the summer.
Source, Images & More: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/