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Mannequins And Cardboard Cutouts Replace Fans At Taiwan Baseball Stadium

Cardboard cutouts of fans crowd the stands before a scheduled game between the Rakuten Monkeys and the Chinatrust Brothers in Taoyuan, Taiwan, that was rained out on April 11.(Gene Wang / Getty Images)

Mannequins, cardboard cutouts and drum-playing robots filled the stands at Taiwan’s Taoyuan Baseball Stadium instead of real fans when the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) restarted its season after a month-long coronavirus lockout.


The Taiwan based league became the first league to play regular-season baseball in 2020 on Sunday, April 12, as live sports has been cancelled in many countries across the world. The Rakuten Monkeys squared off against the Chinatrust Brothers at the Monkeys’ home stadium, the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

The game was played without fans in the stands. There were, however, some strategically placed robot fans, including some that beat drums to add an aura of atmosphere to the game.

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 Taiwan-based league was scheduled to begin March 14, but it moved the opener to April 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rain on Saturday pushed Opening Day to Sunday.

Taiwan currently has a total of 425 COVID-19 infections, of which 343 have been classified as imported, 55 as local infections, 217 patients have been categorized as recovered and six have died according to the country’s Central Epidemic Command Center.

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