Several robots and audience designed out of cardboard cutouts cheered for the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) as the game was held behind closed doors without live spectators at Taiwan's Taoyuan Baseball Stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rakuten Monkeys clashed against the Chinatrust Brothers at the home stadium with a grand team of the robotic cheerleaders that stood with the orchestra in the spectator's seats while the players, stadium staff, conducted the matches adhering to the social distancing guidelines.
While the stadium largely remained unoccupied, dummy fans were also seen installed in the ranks applauding and taking photos of the players. Unfortunately, the game had to be postponed by at least 24 hours due to the heavy downpours that led to a delay in the first professional regular season baseball game of 2020.
Don't cry. Sun will rise and we will try again.— CPBL 中華職棒 (@CPBL) April 11, 2020
Stay tuned tomorrow, there will be 2 games in Taoyuan and Taichung. Let's GO #CPBL#OpeningDay #CTBros#Unilions#FubonGuardians#RakutenMonkeys pic.twitter.com/bP04adHkAZ
According to reports, the scheduled CPBL season opener had to move its opening day from March 14 to April 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. After nearly a month, despite the vacant stadium, the game between the Chinatrust Brothers and the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions kicked off.
The highlights from the game shared on the microblogging site Twitter were worth the sight for the fans as Kai-Wen Cheng, an outfielder with the Uni-Lions, hit the first home run of the CPBL season in the first inning. However, there was no invigorating music or game-in promotions as the match kept going in the eerily quiet.
With the novel coronavirus pandemic, hosting public events without the live audience has become the norm. Governments, such as Italy’s, mandated sporting events including Serie A soccer games be held without fans, according to media reports. The decision comes as the confinement measures ban the assembly people to stem the spread of the deadly infection. In Taiwan, 393 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have emerged thus far, while zero deaths have been registered.