The Game That No One Will See
If a Major League Baseball game is played and no one is in the stands to see it, does it really count? Not unlike the age-old question about a tree falling in the woods, one has to wonder about a game that’s played in front of no one. That’s exactly the case for today’s scheduled game between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. Because of the continued rioting in Baltimore, the Orioles and MLB have made the unprecedented decision to refuse entry to any spectators for the game at Camden Yards. It has never happened before in the long history of baseball and will set the mark for the lowest attendance ever for a major league game. The previous lowest attendance for a major league game appears to be six, when Worcester hosted Troy in a National League match-up on Sept. 28, 1882.
The revised plan was announced Tuesday after widespread public unrest in Baltimore forced a postponement of a White Sox-Orioles game for the second consecutive day. The Orioles said they made the decision after consulting with Major League Baseball as well as city and local officials.
Monday’s game was postponed around 40 minutes before the scheduled 7:05 p.m. start. The decision came after riots broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 of spinal cord and other injuries suffered while in police custody. Tuesday’s game, also scheduled for 7:05, was called off shortly after 11 a.m.
Not unlike what happened in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown a few months ago, some have decided that the best way to show their anger for what happened is to trash their own city and their neighborhoods, with senseless violence. If one’s anger is toward the city of Baltimore or the city’s police department, why ruin the businesses of innocent people around you? Looting of stores and burning of businesses doesn’t solve problems or even the score, it only makes a bad situation worse. But the lesson never seems to be learned. It continues to happen time after time.
One of the buildings that were set on fire during the riots is a senior citizen’s home being built by a local church. What happened to Gray is tragic, but the events that have followed are a disgrace to the city and the majority of its residents. To hurt so many others while trying to gain headlines is just selfish and punk-like.
The decision to play the game but not allow any fans to attend will not only affect the revenue of the Orioles, but also those of vendors and workers who won’t be paid that day. The Baltimore Ravens have also canceled their NFL draft party for Thursday night. More lost revenue and lost wages for day workers.
Major League Baseball has postponed or shifted games in the past because of unrest, but never played one in front of empty seats. Wednesday’s game will be historic but for all the wrong reasons.