SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As the Padres take the field on Friday for their home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, fans will not be in the stands in the traditional sense.
Instead, the Padres plan to deploy cut-outs of players' family members or loved ones, military members, and select fans to populate Petco Park's seats.
During the season, fan cardboard cutouts will be placed in the Lexus Home Plate Club Seats behind home plate, according to the team. Every homestand will feature a different theme, starting with players' families and inspirational figures during opening weekend.
Padres players and their families submitted photos, including pics of their pets, to be in their special cheer section. The team says 79 photos will be featured.
Throughout the season, other themes will include Padres season ticket members, frontline workers, a celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, the 100th anniversary of the Negro League, military members, and first responders.
Other chances for fans to get in the stands will be made available through Petco for a limited number of fans to be featured in the Barkyard by Petco section and through USAA for military members in the Military Appreciation Section (Section 325).
The cardboard cutout trend is being utilized more and more by teams during 2020's fanless season at ballparks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
One option has also been to feed in crowd noise. Sorrento Valley-based San Diego Studio, the creators of MLB The Show 20, were tasked with filling up the silence of the ballparks by calling on a large collection of real sounds for just about any play.