Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
In a baseball first, no one was allowed to attend Wednesday's afternoon game in the city, rescheduled during a week of civil unrest.
Anyone who watched the Orioles in the early 2000s will remember weekday afternoon home games where it seemed like no one was in attendance. But today inside Camden Yards, the official attendance really was zero.
With the National Guard dispatched to Baltimore and the city still under a 10 p.m. curfew following riots Monday in response to the death of Freddie Gray, the Orioles moved their Wednesday evening game against the Chicago White Sox to 2 p.m. Not wanting to strain local safety resources in the middle of one the city's most violent weeks in decades, the Orioles closed the stadium to the public.
The game played to no fans is a Major League first, breaking a 133-year-old record of just six fans in attendance at a Worcester Worcesters' home game against the Troy Trojans on September 28, 1882.
Inside Camden Yards, a couple of scouts could be seen in their seats, and a scattering of fans watched through the stadium's fence. The press box, however, was packed with curious media members excited to cover a baseball first and a new angle on this week's events in Baltimore.
More protests are scheduled for this weekend, and city officials have said they expect a police investigation into the death of Freddie Gray to be completed by Friday. The team will now fly to St. Petersburg, Florida, to play a weekend of "home" games against the Tampa Bay Rays that were originally scheduled to take place in Baltimore.
The team is sensitive to everything happening around them of late. "This is their cry," Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones said earlier today about Monday's riots. "This isn't a cry that is acceptable, but this is their cry and, therefore, we have to understand it."
Team manager, Buck Showalter refuses to look at this week's reschedulings as an inconvenience when so many people in the city are dealing with much worse. "We are citizens of this community," Showalter told the press after today's game. "And if something is going on here that creates this type of situation, it's a reflection on all of us, and we should look at it that way."
The Orioles' next game at Camden Yards is scheduled for May 11.