The Rakuten Monkeys won't have to worry about booing once the 2020 Chinese Professional Baseball League season begins on Saturday.
The club announced on Tuesday that they will place robot mannequins in the stands as pseudo fans as there are social distancing guidelines in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan. The Rakuten Monkeys will play home games at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan City, Taiwan.
"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 the league's official website. "We went with 500 robot mannequins to comply with the current CDC guideline."
The club was renamed from the Lamigo Monkeys to the Rakuten Monkeys in December.
The CPBL was set to begin on March 14 before getting postponed to March 28 and again to April 11, but only 200 people will be allowed in each stadium.
"To conform with the government’s mandate limiting crowds at outdoor events, we will strictly limit the total number of people at each league game at fewer than 200," CPBL secretary-general Feng Shen-hsieng said on April 4, per Jason Pan of the Taipei Times. "This figure will include the players, coaches, team employees, ballpark workers, league officials and members of the media."
The Monkeys were crowned the 2019 CPBL Taiwan Series Champions last October and will rematch the Chinatrust Brothers on Saturday.