Baseball season kicked off in Taiwan last month, with the stadium announcer declaring at Saturday’s opening: “Welcome to the one and only live sports game on the surface of the planet.”
Of course, things looked a bit different. In the stands, cardboard cutouts and plastic mannequins substituted for fans, while robot drummers replaced the live music.
In an effort to keep the players safe, spitting is banned, chewing sunflower seeds are a faux pas, and high-fives have turned into elbow bumps. There’s also lots more hand sanitizer in the locker rooms.
Even though the games are taking place, some admit the restrictions have made it seem like practice. Tseng Hao-Chu, manager of the Rakuten Monkeys, told the New York Times, “It just lacks a bit of energy, that kind of excitement of a real game.”