The upcoming game of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, against the Chicago White Sox, will be closed to the public, an announcement stated on Tuesday. The announcement came after many different events occurred, including the growing of violent protests in Baltimore, the closing of Camden Yards last Saturday, and the rescheduling of Monday’s game for two consecutive days. In order to allow the game to continue without further delay, and further worry of danger to fans who attend the game, the Orioles team and city officials decided to declare the game closed to public. This means that the Orioles will be playing the game to an empty stadium, but at least the game will go on as newly planned.
The game against the White Sox, at Camden Yards, will occur at 2:05 p.m. ET, in Baltimore on Wednesday. It is unclear exactly who will be allowed in the stadium, besides the teams, but it is clear that citizens of Baltimore and other baseball fans will not be in attendance. This was the measure that city officials felt needed to be taken in order to ensure the safety of the team, as well as the opinion expressed of team members who’s reaction to the newly violent Baltimore protests is one of fear and uncertainty. Though it is not clear whether or not protesters would harm anyone inside the baseball field during the game, it is not a new concept, as previous riots in Ferguson showed protesters destroying their own city by catching fire to and tearing up local businesses.
The fear that arose occurred after the game against the Boston Red Sox, last Saturday, was shut down, leaving fans locked inside the Camden Yards stadium, until the green light was given for them to be released. Apparently, the Mayor locked down the field due to suspected danger from growing protests outside the field, in downtown Baltimore. His message was displayed on the Jumbotron towards the end of the 10-inning game. It read, “Due to an ongoing public safety issue, the Mayor of Baltimore City & the BCPD have asked all fans to remain inside the ballpark until further notice, Thank You.” When those in attendance of the game were finally allowed to leave, they were escorted out in specific areas, give instructions of which areas to avoid. During protests many people had issues getting away from Camden Yards and back home, due to street closures, as well, according to sources.
Orioles team members watched the protests on the news from the clubhouse. Players stated that they also saw police choppers over the field while in batting practice. According to Darren O’Day, many players wanted to remain in the clubhouse, after the game. Statements reflect that players were watching the protest turn ugly, on the news, and were unsure about leaving the Camden Yards, themselves.
Many players made comments on the situation, expressing their concerns. Center fielder Adam Jones said that fighting for rights is something that should be done but in a safe and smart way. Others players also shared this view. Many comments from Orioles team members showed dissapointment in how the Baltimore protests have turned out. Calling them de-constructive, many expressed their views on the violence that has erupted from the protests, that began in a somewhat peaceful state, especially now that many measures have had to be taken to ensure the safety of the team and baseball fans in Baltimore.
Other measures, besides closing Wednesday’s game to the public, include the fact that the game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, has been scheduled to occur at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL, with the Orioles serving as the home team, and the rescheduling of the game that was postponed on Monday. The new schedule for the game from Monday is now set for Thursday, May 28 at 4:05 p.m. ET, in which fans can trade in their tickets for the new date. Fans with previously purchased tickets will also be allowed to exchange tickets bought for April 29 and May 1 – 3 games, for other games during the remaining season. Of course, these changes must be made by June 30,2015 and are “subject to availability.” Fans can also find more information on the Orioles website.
Although the upcoming Baltimore Orioles game will be closed to the public, the baseball team is doing all that they can to ensure fans are taken care of. Ensuring safety and working to provide fans who will lose out on purchased tickets with great customer service, is the least that the team can do. But after talking with the Major League Baseball officials and city officials, the Orioles players feel that changing the scheduled games in Baltimore is just what is best for all involved. John Angelos said it best in his statement via Twitter, when he wrote, “Americans in Baltimore…losing economic and civil rights…makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering.” Though the team does not approve of the violent manner in which protests are taking, they do wholeheartedly approve of fighting for one’s rights, and believe that rearranging baseball games in order to allow protesting to continue, is important.
By Crystal Boulware
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