Monday, January 17, 2022
HomeCPBLEmpty Stadiums, Cheerleaders and Robotic Fans

Empty Stadiums, Cheerleaders and Robotic Fans

The story of how Taiwanese Baseball Created Atmosphere From Nothing

The atmosphere in Taiwanese baseball is electric. However, since coronavirus struck, the CPBL (being the first professional baseball league to start playing since the start of the pandemic) have thought of inventive ways to bolster the atmosphere in stadiums with no fans. Continue reading to find out more about how the Chinese Professional Baseball League is coping with the current health crisis while establishing a name for themselves across the globe.

Typical Fan Experience in CPBL

In the Chinese Professional Baseball league, you are fortunate if you catch the sound of the ball connecting with the bat. The atmosphere of a CPBL game is so rowdy, that supporters insinuate that attending a game feels like you are at a nightclub. From before the start of the ball game to the final out, the thrill simply doesn’t stop. Fans pound their noisemakers, drums are beating, cheerleaders rally the team on top of the dugout, and everyone in the crowd is endlessly dancing. For all intents and purposes, vuvuzelas are encouraged in the CPBL. Each players’ catered walkup songs are wholly intensified, which continues to play all through every players’ at-bat. With intense energy throughout the CPBL stadiums, each game is an unbelievable experience. Don’t worry about sneaking food or beverages into the stadium, as you are entitled to bring your cooler into the stadium packed with anything you desire. Are you intrigued yet by the Chinese Professional Baseball League?

Mascots in CPBL

Have you ever wondered about the whereabouts of the original mascot? In 1883, “The Sporting Life,” a newspaper published in the UK, was the first to pen the mascot. The paper had a remarkable run from 1859 until 1998, and it covered a piece about a boy named Chic. He carried players’ bats, accomplished errands, and presented himself as quite valuable. But most importantly, Chic acted as a good luck charm for baseball players.

For the CPBL 2020 season, the Uni Lions introduced an original mascot, named Sababoy. Not only is Sababoy unique and an incredible dancer, but the mascot was launched to promote a bit about the region of Taiwan, which is vital to the growth of the Chinese Professional Baseball League.

The role of the mascot of an organization is to keep fan engagement as high as they can throughout the entirety of the game. With mascots around for over 100 years, they won’t be going away anytime soon. In fact, mascots are so relevant to our society that the Mascot Hall of Fame opened in 2019 in Whiting, Indiana. Furthermore, the Mascot Hall of Fame also has there very own mascot!

The Role of Cheerleaders in CPBL

In Major League Baseball, the pace of play has been a prominent topic in recent years. If the MLB were to introduce cheerleaders for each team, it could play a role in reducing the rate of play, which would not be a victory for baseball. Additionally, Major League Baseball is quite traditional, and countless fans would find the role of cheerleaders in the majors as not only distracting to baseball but disrespectful to the integrity of the game.

Nevertheless, the presence of cheerleaders in the Chinese Professional Baseball League has been around since 2005. Still, the purpose of the cheerleaders in the league didn’t have as much of a presence back then. The role of cheerleaders in the CPBL back in 2005 was to dance before the first pitch of the game, plus perform in the stands throughout the game to encourage fans to support the home team.

Fast forward to 2012, the Lamigo Monkeys (now Rakuten Monkeys), played in Korea for the Asia Series. The Lamigo Monkeys were influenced by how moving the Korean fans were by their cheerleaders and adapted it for the team. The goal for the Monkeys was to bring in both new fans and encourage younger fans to take an interest in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. As the number of cheerleaders grew for each team, the more prevalent each organization became.

As each season goes by, there are new members of the cheerleading squad, with added original moves and unique outfits. There are a lot of fans who say that they attend games just for the cheerleaders, instead of the game itself. While the role of cheerleading has emphasized most fans, some believe it has taken away from the competition. However, they are more popular than some of the players, so CPBL cheerleaders are here to stay.

Creative, ingenious and fascinating but are robotic fans here to stay?

With media outlets in Taiwan reporting that the Chinese Professional Baseball League teams could lose up to $167,000 in revenue per game, one team, in particular, is taking a unique approach to market their organization. To minimize revenue damages, the Rakuten Monkeys have implemented the use of robot mannequins and cardboard fans. Not only is this idea a creative way to fill the stands, but it is a positive way to promote the Rakuten Monkeys while maintaining safety. The Monkeys have created 500 robot mannequins that comply with CDC guidelines. The approach behind the robotic and cardboard fans is for the players to have the presence of fans, in addition to the national audience, to become more engaged. With the Rakuten Monkey mannequin’s wearing team hats and jerseys, the team has coined them the “tenth player on the field.”

What Does This Mean For The Players?

As improbable as it may seem, fans in the stands do indeed have an impact on the outcome of the game, as there is a psychological aspect that fans may have on athletes. Players are not just competing against other teams or players, but also themselves. Each player possesses a physical, mental, and emotional standing, which means that fans have the power to mess with a player’s mind, which could hinder the concentration of any given player.

There are, of course, some sports fans who find it amusing to distract players, and they actually could do just that based on the volume of their voice. Even the appearance of signs and chants, fans could get into the heads of opposing teams. To combat this, sports psychologists are on staff to help players to overcome both mental pressures and challenges. However, due to fans being restricted from sporting events, for the time being, teams may not feel the same home-field advantage they usually do. Players are also tasked with discovering new ways to build momentum, as they cannot obtain energy from the crowd, as the sports world is currently in unchartered territories.


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