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Robot Mannequins To Stand In For Real Fans At Games In Taiwan

Gettyimages | Svetlana Mokrova
By Emily Reily

Here. Are. Your. 2020 Baseball Fans

Giphy | Europeana

What's more depressing than not having baseball games? Having baseball games with fans who are actually robot mannequins. This will be the case in the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan.

The start date for this league was already postponed twice, pushed back to March 14 and March 28, but it looks like they're going through with it this time.

Presto Change-O: Instant Fan!


While Major League Baseball in the United States is sitting this one out until coronavirus eases up, the CPBL is getting ready to play its first game this weekend, paying no mind to whether the fans have heartbeats.

Taking the field on Saturday will be the Rakuten Monkeys, and cheering them on will be mannequin robots dressed up like fans.

The Monkeys’ general manager Justin Liu says "why not?" to the whole thing.

“Since we are not allowed to have any fans in attendance, we might as well have some fun with it. We went with 500 robot mannequins to comply with the current CDC guideline.”

Robots can't be fans, you say? This league begs to differ.

Will They Start The Wave?

Giphy | Morgan Creek

The team plays in Taiwan, where they're still practicing social distancing, so this is one way to handle things. But still, the players won't be able to keep apart from each other, so it's almost counterintuitive.

According to the League's site, they plan to have mannequin fans for the entire season. About 500 of these "fans" will be sitting in the stands cheering on their favorite team.

There will be some humans in the stadium -- but not many. The Taipei Times reports that fewer than 200 people will be there on opening day, composing players, coaches, staff, park employees and the media.

Fan Spontaneity Is Out Of the Question

Giphy | MLB

People on social media had a little bit of fun with this news, which is what people do when they're faced with bizarre news stories.

"Do they buy drinks? Like WD40? Oil? What kind of food do they eat? Instead of a hotdog, it’s wrench? Instead of peanuts and cracker jacks, just nuts and bolts?" said @djdonjon187.

Eating popcorn would be out of the question -- those little kernels can get stuck in human and robot teeth.

Can We Hit Reboot On This Decade?


If we're going to have robots who are fans, might as well play it to the hilt.

"If I'm a sponsor of the league, I would everything I could to use this as an advertising opportunity including a Taiwan Beer section of robots that gets progressively louder as the game goes on," tweeted @inglis_josh4.

"We are so far past the twilight zone," wrote @jb_daddy.

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