"At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn't."
Having become the latest poster child for coronavirus outbreaks in Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals are now asking fans to pay $70 to become literal posters — specifically, to become cardboard cutouts to fill Busch Stadium's bleachers.
One could perceive the offer as a canny marketing ploy to generate revenue at a time when the sport is being played without human spectators because of the coronavirus epidemic. But you would be wrong! In fact, all the proceeds go to Cardinals Care
, the team's charitable fund.
Secondly, spending $70 on a 2D cutout of yourself who is doomed to watch every single Cardinals game does have its upsides.
Just imagine: the frozen expression on your doppelganger, who knows no hunger, no pain, but only baseball; who is impervious to viral infection and for whom every inning is an inoculation injected via airborne American pastime; and who roots, roots, roots for the home team, and if the Cardinals don't win it's not a shame at all
because you have become a cardboard cutout and transcended death. Nice!
Of course, there are limits to the Cardinals' campaign of artificial fanstantiation. According to a Q&A posted on the team website
, the team can't guarantee a specific seat location for the cutouts, but notes that "since we are filling seats in the first level, there is a chance you may be able to spot yourself on the TV broadcasts!"
With that potential bonus — and who doesn't want to see themselves on TV? —comes the reassuring knowledge that your baseball clone cannot experience loneliness or longing for a pre-COVID world, nor can it recall an existence that is not defined by a flatland hell dimension where all existence is baseball.
On Saturday, the Cardinals played their first game since July 29, when a spate of coronavirus infections forced players to quarantine in Milwaukee and eventually led to more than a dozen postponed games. To make up for lost time, the team is set to play ten doubleheaders over the next two months.
As far as baseball goes, the Cardinals players are down weeks' worth of playing time. But that shouldn't matter to the team's cardboard crowd. After all, in two dimensions, any direction can be up.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com
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