With some Asian countries hoping to return to life with a semblance of normalcy amid the outbreak of COVID-19, we’re seeing some very interesting propositions about how baseball might be played.
There are some familiar suggestions to what we’ve been seeing discussed with MLB: no fans, players in masks, etc, but some leagues are going the extra mile to replace the experience of having fans in the stadiums, and the resulting suggestions are intriguing and a bit wild.
- The Rakuten Monkeys, a Taiwan Professional Baseball League team, are offering fans a unique opportunity to be present without, um, being present.
Cardboard fans are coming to Rakuten Monkeys' home games! For roughly $200 USD, fans (group of 4) can submit their photos and have their cardboard cutouts to appear in the stands. According to the team, the new cardboard fans will make their #CPBL debut on April 17. pic.twitter.com/6ZowX6rDsi— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) April 9, 2020
- In a Hardball Talk article by Craig Calcaterra, he shares that the Monkeys are also trying out an option that includes mannequins dressed as fans, including LITERAL ROBOT FANS.
- Meanwhile, a recent poll found 72 percent of all Americans and 61 percent of sports fans wouldn’t attend a game again until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Bill Francis of the Baseball Hall of Fame has a fascinating look at how the Spanish Flu of 1918 impacted professional baseball.
- For Sporting News, Ryan Fagan shares how Yankees pitcher Luke Voit has written a semi-autobiographical children’s book.
- Chris Sale had one of the hardest years of his career this year before the season was postponed. He opens up about Tommy John surgery and more to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Over at FanGraphs, Ben Clemens gets REALLY invested in seeing if baseball in Arizona could really work.
- Geoff Edgers shares the story of the Fenway Park organist who is taking just about any request people have for him these days.
- No crying in baseball? Anthony Castrovince suggests otherwise in his piece about the open emotion Wilmer Flores showed when he was traded from the Mets. (It’s also an oral history, and I love me a good oral history piece.)
- Mike Oz chats with Bud Black while the famed manager eats some 34-year-old chewing gum. (you bet there’s video)
- Reddit user Piscotikus shared his son’s very cool experiment to cut a bunch of different baseballs in half.
- Ever wonder what goes into picking a walk-up song?