The Los Angeles Dodgers, like every other major league ball club, had to face the stark reality of playing games in front of cardboard cutouts instead of actual fans.
Dodgers fans were able to purchase a cardboard cutout on the team’s website to put themselves in the game even though they’re not really at the game. One fan watching the team’s game against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday may have been lucky he wasn’t in the stands.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith hit a home run in the ninth inning and knocked off one fan’s cardboard head. The fan jokingly asked Smith and the Dodgers on Twitter whether he gets to keep the ball from the home run.
“Sorry I took your head off … shoot me a dm and I’ll hook it up for you,” Smith replied.
Several MLB teams have used cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands to take up some sports for the television broadcasts. Some players have been seen in the stands as well as they practice social distancing during games.
FOX Sports has included virtual fans for some broadcasts during the season.
FOX Sports Vice President Brad Zager, who oversees live event productions and operations, said he hopes that people give it a chance before making a definitive opinion.
“We believe that what we’re doing is creating a natural viewing experience,” Zager said. “Sports is supposed to be an escape and when people have that escape we want it to feel as normal as possible when there’s very little normalcy, like a crowd at a baseball game on a Saturday.
He added, “We’re not looking to fool everyone. We know it is a virtual crowd. But we also know how jarring watching a game in an empty stadium is on TV.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.