The 2020 World Series presents both a unique challenge and an exciting opportunity: In a world where people are used to being stuck at home during a pandemic, how can baseball make its games more interactive for people sitting on their couch?
This is not only a question rooted in current practically — virtual is better in 2020! — but something that could be dividends for a sport that has lagged in attracting younger fans. The idea of a World Series you can participate in from your phone might actually help in that regard.
So this postseason Major League Baseball set out to create new ways for fans to be involved. Everything from virtual cheering to having a tweet printed on a batting practice ball.
Here’s a look at a few ways that fans can participate in this year’s World Series like never before:
Cheer at Home
We’re already aware that sports are using fake crowd noise during the pandemic. Even though a small percentage of fans are back in the stadium at Globe Life Park, MLB is still using the piped-in noise to give the game more volume.
One new-age wrinkle is that fans can log onto MLB’s “Cheer at the Ballpark” and tap their emotions. Want to boo the Dodgers? You can do that. Want to cheer for Clayton Kershaw? You can do that. The pulse of the fans via Cheer at the Ballpark will then determine some of what gets piped into the stadium.
Almost makes you wish the Astros made the World Series so you could boo them, huh?
You’ve heard of a rally cap, but what about the Rally app? Rally allows anybody at home to try their best to predict what’s going to happen next. It’s like fantasy sports, but for every single at-bat. When Randy Arozarena steps to the plate, you can guess whether he strikes out, hits a homer or flies out. Get it right and you get points to prove it. Do really well and you might win a prize.
So if you’re one of those fans who calls when a guy is about to homer, this is for you.
The Rally Championship
The Rally app isn’t actually new for the World Series, it’s been going on all season, but one thing that is new and interesting — there’s a Rally Championship being played between four of the best Rally players from the regular season. They’ll play the game against each other during Game 2, and some of MLB Network’s hosts will be talking to them during the game. The winner gets $10,000.
Pumped to be hosting the #Rally2020Championship Wednesday night during GM2.Join us & see who will win the $10K grand prize!
Search "MLB Rally" in App Store to play your own game for a chance at $20k+ in daily prizes during the #WorldSeries. Full info: https://t.co/B8xDVaQ6e4 pic.twitter.com/J0tzHnya9t
— Lauren Gardner (@LGRed) October 19, 2020
A one-of-a-kind memento
The World Series and Twitter are giving a select number of fans one of the coolest mementos you can imagine — a batting practice ball with their World Series tweet printed on it. Here’s how it works: Leading up to Game 1, fans were encouraged to send out tweets with the hashtag #FreeBaseball. MLB then collected and authenticated about 200 balls from BP, got some of them signed by players and will be printing fan tweets on them.
— MLB (@MLB) October 21, 2020
Sure beats the same ol’ cap and program that anyone can buy, right?
The World Series has become synonymous with free tacos ever since MLB and Taco Bell partnered up for their “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promo. But this year, even that is getting a socially distanced spin.
Everybody in America gets a free taco after the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts stole a base. Instead of waiting in line on a specific day, this year fans can redeem their free taco on the Taco Bell app.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 21, 2020
It’s not exactly a hot dog while sitting in the ballpark, but at least there’s not a line.
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