But not in Taiwan.
Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium echoed the batter on the ball Thursday as the Rakuten monkeys hit the Uni Lions 15-3.
Taiwan is still playing ball.
“This is because we have done a very good job of preventing the pandemic,” said Richard Wang, a Taiwanese broadcaster who provided live English commentary broadcast worldwide.
The figures suggest that he is right.
As of Friday, Taiwan, with its population of around 24 million, had detected only 395 cases of coronavirus and only six deaths.
On Tuesday, she also took an important step. No new cases were reported that day, for the first time since March 9. The Grand Hotel Taipei celebrated this achievement by spelling the word “zero” in the lights on the facade of the building.
Taiwanese authorities have started to embark and screen passengers for symptoms of fever and pneumonia on flights from Wuhan, the virus’s epicenter of origin in China.
In the space of three weeks, more than 120 actions had been implemented by the Central Epidemic Command Center on the island, according to a list published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Taiwan’s relative success against the virus has made it possible to practice professional sports, but with some adaptations. Human audience is not allowed in the stadium for Thursday’s game. Instead, workers erected cardboard cutouts and even mannequins in the stands.
“We obviously lack an audience,” Wang told CNN by videophone near the shelter before the game.
Baseball games in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea are generally incredibly noisy as cheerleaders dance to booming music and lead crowds in singalongs.
In the era of coronaviruses, it is much quieter. “But we still have music,” said Wang. They also have beating robots.
Overlooking the field were four metal robots, with bright eyes and swivel heads. Armed with sticks, they hit snares throughout the match.
“The club got these robot figures that play drums during games,” said Wang. “We’ve never seen this before. It’s fun!”
Another thing Taiwan has never done before is to distribute free games to the world – in English.
“The only #LIVE Pro baseball game on EARTH,” said Eleven Sports Taiwan in a tweet before Thursday’s game, which was broadcast live on the platform.
“We hope we can cheer up everyone who may be affected by the coronavirus,” said Simone Kang, general manager of Eleven Sports Taiwan.
“Don’t feel sad … just watch professional baseball in Taiwan.”
Eleven Sports Taiwan said it had nearly a million views in two games broadcast live in English this week.
Among those celebrating the start of the professional baseball season in Taiwan was Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
She posted a photo of herself on Facebook watching a championship game with her cat.
“I really welcome everyone to enjoy our games, especially when there is no match in the United States, no match in Japan, no match in Korea, no match anywhere!” said Wang.
“It’s the only live sport you can have right now.”
CNN’s Pamela Boykoff also contributed to this report.