Fans are letting cardboard cutouts of their favorite furry mascots take their place in the stands.

By Austin Cannon
August 28, 2020
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Cardboard cutouts of Los Angeles Dodgers fans' dogs and cats take in an August game at Dodger Stadium.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In normal times (remember those?), the dog days of summer meant major league ballplayers were entering months of scant off days and sticky temperatures. 

This year, it’s a little different. The Major League Baseball season, shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been underway for only a month—without fans in the stands. But this time, the dog days include actual dogs! Well, kind of. 

The clubs offered their diehard fans the chance to purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves to sit in the stadiums during games. Luckily, for the viewing enjoyment of millions, some of those good people submitted their dogs and cats, and those cutouts were dutifully placed in their seats at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Citi Field in New York, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and other ballparks around the country.

In fact, the Los Angeles Dodgers filled a section of seats almost entirely with canine cutouts. The team encouraged fans to pay the $149 to secure the cutouts of their dogs and cats, pledging to donate the proceeds to the team’s charitable foundation.  

Dogs of the non-service variety have become increasingly common at major-league ballparks as teams have hosted several “bark at the park” nights over the past several years. At least one-third of the teams hosted events last season. Just think, in the summer months, you can share a hot dog with your own hot—never mind.  

Ballgames aren’t without risk, though, even for the cardboard dogs. Earlier in August at the New York Mets’ Citi Field, Atlanta Braves right fielder Adam Duvall blasted an opposite-field shot over the right-field fence, hitting a cardboard dog square

Funnily enough, the dog pictured on the cardboard is Willow, belonging to Mets utility player Jeff McNeil. He actually adopted Willow during an event at Citi Field last year, taking a break from pregame batting practice to persuade his wife.

The lesson here seems pretty simple: The best way to support your favorite team this year is to adopt a dog, snap a photo, and send their cardboard resemblance off to your favorite stadium.