The scenes from Wednesday's Orioles-White Sox game in Baltimore are just as bizarre as expected. With the stadium closed to fans due to safety concerns, the only people in the ballpark were the players, umpires, media and team officials. The lack of spectators created one of the most unique game environments in American sports history.
The decision to close the ballpark was made after several days of unrest in Baltimore as citizens protest the death of Freddie Gray. The Orioles were forced to postpone the first two games of the White Sox series, which will be made up as a doubleheader in May. This weekend's series against the Tampa Bay Rays, originally scheduled to be played in Baltimore, will be moved to Tropicana Field.
Though Wednesday's game was closed to the public, many fans gathered outside the park and attempted to catch a glimpse of the action. When the Orioles put up six runs in the bottom of the first inning, the stadium was eerily quiet.
The stadium was so quiet you could hear Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne on White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson's call of Chris Davis's home run.
Some players attempted to add levity to the situation. White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton joked about taking the crowd out of the game and Orioles catcher Caleb Josephsigned autographs for the imaginary fans. Chris Davis tossed a ball into the stands as he ran back to the dugout.
Orioles outfielder Adam Jones addressed the unrest in his city while speaking with reporters before the game.
Gray, 25, fractured his neck while in police custody and died a week later. An investigation into his death is ongoing. Protestors took to city's streets after Gray's funeral on Monday and some demonstrations eventually turned violent. Cars and businesses were burned and stores were ransacked by looters. The National Guard was called in to attempt to maintain order. The city's mayor also ordered a nighttime curfew.
- Dan Gartland