An ad encouraging fans to put their faces on the cardboard cutouts
Three Batter Minimum

Three Batter Minimum: Cardboard Fans

Major League Baseball is set to return. Let those words sink in for a moment and then throw out any idea you have of what this season may look like. Everything about the season, if there even is a season, will be different. Of all the possible changes the biggest one will be the lack of fans in the stands. I’m not sure that MLB fans are prepared for how different that is going to make the atmosphere of an MLB game.

MLB knows; that’s why they have been trying to get fans in the stands in some shape or fashion. In lieu of that teams have been experimenting with a host of ideas. The simplest one, that most teams seem ready to adopt, is to pump fake fan noise into stadiums. This is, well, for lack of a better way of phrasing it, an incredibly stupid idea. I’ve enjoyed the videos of players clobbering home runs where you can hear the crack of bat on ball. It still gives me a rush when a pitcher is throwing gas and you can hear the catcher’s mitt pop upon impact. I’ll take those sounds every day of the week over fake fan noise.

The idea to put fans in the stands that interests me the most is one that is close to home. Taking a page from other leagues the Milwaukee Brewers were one of the first MLB teams to announce that they will have cardboard cutouts in the stands. These fake fans will occupy seats throughout the ballpark and stare at the game going on in front of them. The catch is that each cutout will have the face of an honest to god Brewers fan who paid to have their mug planted on that cutout.

Why do I like the above idea so much? It’s not because it will help the atmosphere of the game, rather it’s because it is so completely foreign to what we know as baseball. This season is foreign, the Coronavirus has rendered it as such. What better way to encapsulate how odd the 2020 MLB season is likely to be than soulless cardboard cutouts featuring actual fans’ faces littered throughout Miller Park? There isn’t one, that’s why I will be taking no questions at this time. Embrace the weird MLB fans, because if there is a 2020 season the experience will be weird in every way imaginable.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Milwaukee Brewers

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), boyfriend, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Baseball Prospectus, Baseball.FYI, & Beyond the Box Score. Member Internet Baseball Writer's Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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