The Rakuten Monkeys opened Taiwan’s CPBL season with robot mannequins in the stands to simulate a raucous crowd. FC Seoul of the K League, the top professional soccer league in South Korea, had to apologize after populating empty stands with sex dolls. I’m not suggesting the Cubs put in a bulk order with Lover’s Lane or anything, but it might not be a bad idea to think a little more like Andrew McCarthy.
Or, you know, maybe they could just follow the lead of several other teams that are taking the less risque route of letting fans purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves to be displayed in the stands. The Athletics, Giants, Brewers and Royals are the among the teams to announce initiatives, with the former including a higher tier that allows fans to keep a foul ball that strikes their likeness.
The A's announced that fans can pay to have their cutouts at home games this season, with prices ranging from $49 to $129. The most expensive gets you a baseball if a foul ball hits your cutout. Proceeds go to local charities.
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) June 30, 2020
The White Sox announced that they’re joining the fray with their FANtastic Faces program, which is limited to 1,500 cutouts at $49 apiece. Sales start at 3pm CT on Wednesday, July 8 and all net proceeds will benefit White Sox Charities.
None of these are not meant to serve as revenue streams, at least not explicitly, so the Cubs probably couldn’t use money from cutouts to build an arc aboard which to survive this season’s biblical losses. Even so, they’d get a big PR float from the concept alone.
They’re already pumping in fake fan noise, so why not have the fake fans to go with it? I can imagine more than a few season ticket holders would be willing to forego some of their refund in order to have a custom cutout in their seat, then they would get to keep it when the program or season ends.
We’ve been talking about this for weeks on The Rant Live, so it’s not a new concept by any stretch. But seeing the Sox doing it, making at least three teams on the Cubs’ schedule to offer such a program, brought everything front of mind again. At the very least, it’d be cool for the Cubs to print up cutouts of famous fans or dignitaries who’ve visited the ballpark in the past.
You know, like Eddie Vedder, Bill Murray, Bob Newhart…maybe even Charles Lindbergh.