Baseball fans may be disappointed to miss the ballpark experience at MLB games during the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still be seen at a game.
T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners, is filling the stands with cardboard cutouts of fans, families -- even pets -- in a new program called “Seat Fleet.”
Fans can upload a photograph on the team's website and order a life-size cardboard cutout to sit in the stands during Mariners home games. Each cutout costs $30 and a portion of the proceeds are donated to non-profit organizations that support COVID-19 relief efforts. If a ball hits your cutout during an M's home game, the team will send you the baseball.
The Mariners partnered with one of the state's oldest companies to modernize the fan experience. Rainier Industries has been around since the 1890s and manufactures everything from tents and yurts to awnings and promotional displays. They are one of several local companies who shifted their business under the pandemic and have been focused on producing safety equipment like face shields and acrylic dividers.
Matt Cutchin, display director with Rainier Industries, said, “This is all new to us. We’ve never developed a website for a client like this and we’ve had to move quickly, but it’s been really fun.”
Rainier Industries prints, cuts and prepares the life-sized cutout version for installation at T-Mobile Park.
“We’ve seen everything from folks you’d recognize from television, celebrities. We’ve seen medical workers that are being honored and supported. We’ve seen lots of pets, lots of dogs!” Cutchin said.
The fan cutouts will be randomly placed around the lower bowl and if you order multiples or have a family order they’ll place you in a row together and you can look for yourself at all of the M’s home games in 2020.
The Mariners host the Oakland Athletics for their home opener on July 31.