Police stand guard outside of Camden Yards Tuesday after the second straight Orioles game is canceled due to the Baltimore riots.
In this aerial photo, Oriole Park at Camden Yards sits empty, Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Baltimore, as unrest that occurred after Freddie Gray’s funeral continues into a second day.
Protestors gather outside of Oriole Park at Camden Yards before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles after a rally for Freddie Gray on Saturday.
MIAMI — With the city of Baltimore still consumed by violence, the Orioles will take the extraordinary step on Wednesday of playing a game that is closed to the public.
After the O’s postponed Monday and Tuesday games against the White Sox due to concerns about rioting surrounding Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the team announced plans to move Wednesday’s 7:05pm game to 2:05, without fans being allowed to attend.
The mayor of Baltimore has imposed a 10pm to 5am curfew, creating many variables to opening the stadium for a game: What if it were to go extra innings, or be paused by a rain delay? Would media and stadium workers, who remain in the building for hours after the game, be able to leave in time for the curfew?
The Orioles will also move this weekend’s series against Tampa Bay to Tropicana Field, the Rays’ home park. Those games were previously scheduled to be played in Baltimore, and the Orioles will bat last as the home team.
The O’s two postponed games against the White Sox will be made up as part of a May 28 doubleheader.
Rioting has consumed Baltimore in the aftermath of the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died of a spinal injury after being taken into police custody. The exact circumstances of Gray’s death remain unclear.
Rioting and unrest have impacted baseball before: In 1992, following the acquittal of police officers videotaped beating a black man, Rodney King, the Dodgers postponed four games. In 1967, amid rioting in Detroit, the Tigers and Orioles cancelled a game.
In a news release issued by Major League Baseball, the league said that it would “continue to monitor the situation and will remain in communication with the Orioles regarding their discussions with the Baltimore City Police Department and other local officials.
“After conversations with the Orioles and local officials, we believe that these decisions are in the best interests of fan safety and the deployment of City resources,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in the statement. “Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by violence in Baltimore, and everyone in our game hopes for peace and the safety of a great American city.”
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