ABOVE: Cricket…cricket…Orioles play regulation MLB game in empty stadium
Despite widespread protests and nighttime rioting across the city, the Baltimore Orioles will host the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards in Baltimore Wednesday.
And four hours before the game, statisticians already knew how many people would be at the game: zero.
The first pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Wednesday but the stadium will, with the exception of media and team staff, be empty.
Major League Baseball, along with the teams, decided to play the game despite the riots, but close it to the public due to the threat of violence.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in an email to The Associated Press the decision was “driven by the desire to insure the safety of fans, players, umpires, and stadium workers.”
“Only after we were comfortable that those concerns had been addressed did we consider competitive issues and the integrity of the schedule,” he said.
The Orioles’ upcoming Friday-to-Sunday series against Tampa Bay has also been shifted from Camden Yards in Baltimore to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“It’s all about what’s best for the city and the safety of our people,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The last thing you want to do is put the fans in harm’s way. You have to err on the side of safety.”
Widespread rioting has enveloped the city of Baltimore since the peaceful protests after Freddie Gray’s death turned violent Monday after his funeral.
Over a dozen police officers were injured and over 230 people were arrested after the first day of rioting. Nearly 3,000 National Guardsmen and police were on duty Tuesday night to enforce the emergency 10 p.m. curfew instituted by the city Tuesday and convinced most protesters to stop for the night.
But, according to a tweet from Jon Paul Morosi, a sports reporter for Fox News in Baltimore, some fans on an adjacent balcony will still get to take in the game.