How Astros opening day will look different thanks to COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Four months after what was originally supposed to be opening day for the Houston Astros, the team finally plays today at Minute Maid Park.

Baseball is back, but it will be different.

The Astros are taking on the Seattle Mariners tonight, and first pitch is just after 8:00 p.m.

There won't be any fans in the stands at Minute Maid Park for the game.

COVID-19 has forced a lot of professional sports to make adjustments; no fans, face masks required, temperature checks and players have to get tested for the virus.

With those changes come some creative solutions.

For tonight's game you'll notice there are actually some "fans" in the outfield...cardboard fans that is.

RELATED: Houston Astros selling chance to 'attend' games as a cutout

Astros fans paid to have their photos cut out in life-size and placed in the stands.

In another attempt to replace the lack of fan interaction, noise is going to be played over the speakers so it's not too quiet tonight, a huge change for the players who are so used to fans screaming and cheering.

"People have asked what it's like for players not playing in front of fans. Well, a lot of them, when they were coming up as kids or even the minor leagues, they were playing in front of virtually no one or smaller crowds," said Gene Dias, Astros Vice President of Communications. "I think some of these guys, a lot of these guys, have played in front of no crowds or small crowds before so they will have memories of that."

Just because you can't watch the game in person doesn't mean that it's going to be less fun.

Budweiser is giving fans the chance to virtually catch a home run ball.

If you have a Twitter account, you can tweet out the hashtag #BudLightHomers after an Astros home run for a chance to be one of two randomly chose fans to win an authentic home run baseball.

SEE ALSO: Celebrate the return of Astros baseball with these food and drink specials

Follow Charly Edsitty on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.