If a baseball game is played and no one is there to see it, was it ever really played?
That was the philosophical question when the coronavirus delayed Opening Day until July and necessitated social distancing between players in the dugouts and masks out in public. It also meant that, for the first time since baseball became a sport with ticket-buying fans, it would be played to empty stadiums.
But teams got creative. Sure, actual people wouldn’t be in there, but the cardboard versions of them could be. Or, to be more accurate, Correx versions -- a material more similar to a yard sign than a child’s science fair project.
The Mariners were one of the first to announce their plans for the cutouts -- or “Seat Fleet” as the team calls it -- to be placed in the stadium. After seeing European soccer leagues get creative with their crowds, the Mariners got to work.
“We have a long-term relationship with Rainier Industries, which is right here in the Seattle area,” Mandy Lincoln, the director of marketing for the Mariners, told MLB.com as she took a break from adding more butt-less fans into seats. “We’ve been partners with them for 30 years. We took it to them and said, ‘How do we make this happen? Can you print it? Can you upload photos? Can you do the purchase flow?’