The Baltimore Orioles’ fanless baseball game is receiving criticism, both good and bad.
According to ABC News, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was asked about her feelings regarding the Orioles playing the Chicago White Sox in Camden Yards in front of so many empty seats. “I think that in the heat of an emergency, every decision that is made is going to be scrutinized,” she said. “People have to understand that all of the decisions that are being made are being made with the best resources that we have on the ground at the time.”
The Orioles decided to play Wednesday’s game bereft of an audience after postponing the first two games of the series. The Orioles and White Sox will make up the two games as a doubleheader on May 28.
There were about 100 or so Orioles fans gathered outside the stadium, but they were able to see part of the action on the field. Some felt the Orioles closing the stadium was a good idea. “They had no choice,” resident Till Strudick said.
Another anonymous Orioles fan said, “It’s great. I can see everything but third base. I actually pay more attention out here than I do in there sometimes.”
CNN is reporting that Mayor Rawlings-Blake described the fanless game as “another sad day in our city. We’re a sports town. We love our O’s (Orioles),” she said.
The Orioles and White Sox played under these surreal conditions. The only people in the Orioles’ stadium were media, scouts, Camden Yards staff, and a few others. Though the attendance was really zero, it will go into the record books as “N/A.”
The Orioles and White Sox tried their best to maintain a sense of normalcy. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph walked around signing imaginary autographs to empty seats. Orioles manager Buck Showalter called to the bullpen late in the game. He would say later that he heard the bullpen phone ringing from the dugout. John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” blared through the loudspeakers for the 7th inning stretch, an Orioles tradition dating back to 1975, to the delight of, well, just the players, really.
Chris Davis hit a three-run home run for the Orioles in the first inning. As Davis rounded the bases, the hundred or so Orioles fans outside the locked stadium could be heard cheering. The Orioles won the game, 8-2.
Chicago’s Adam Eaton tweeted one final comment in two parts; a joke and an apology. Eaton first tweeted, “We are gonna do our best to take the crowd out of it early. Wish us luck.” Just to be on the safe side, Eaton later tweeted, “Take it easy people. Just trying to lighten the mood. I have the up most respect for Baltimore and its people. Always have, always will.”
[Image courtesy of Brian Costa/Wall St. Journal]