Professional baseball teams can’t really get together with their fans right now.

Instead, they’re playing in empty stadiums, where the only ones filling seats are mascots, stuffed animals, computer generated fans or cardboard cutouts of people’s heads.

But long before the major leagues agreed to games without fans, the Charleston, S.C. RiverDogs got some extra attention for having no one at the old ball game.

Most minor league promotions try to bring more fans to each game, but the RiverDogs decided they might get more notoriety if it had the lowest attendance of all time.

So, on July 8, 2002, they held “Nobody Night.”

Anyone who bought a ticket to the game was turned away at the gate and sent to a party outside the confines of the arena proper, where they could purchase discounted food and beverages.

They did let fans into the game after the fifth inning, when the game became official and the final attendance figure was zero.

Once those fans entered the park, quite a few started running through the stadium trying to grab foul balls.

So even on “Nobody Night” several hundred somebodies saw some of the game.

But since all of the runs in the game were scored in the first five innings, those somebodies missed almost everything.

And by the way, the Riverdogs may have won a lot of attention for this stunt – but they lost the game, to the Columbus Red Stixx, 4 to 2.

Today is the birthday of a baseball player from way back in the day, Joe Tinker of the early 20th century Chicago Cubs.

Tinker’s hometown of Muscotah, Kansas paid tribute to the local celebrity by building a giant baseball.

It’s actually a former water tower storage tank with some rebar to look like the stitches on the ball, but real or not, at 20 feet wide, it’s hard to miss, and you won’t regret seeing it.

RiverDogs’ “Nobody Night” Promotion Recalled on Today’s ESPN’s “First Take” (

Muscotah, Kansas: World’s Largest Baseball (Roadside America)

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Empty seats at Fenway Park photo by Logan Ingalls via Flickr/Creative Commons