The Baltimore Orioles have announced that, despite ongoing riots in the city, they intend to play their scheduled Wednesday game against the Chicago White Sox. However, in a bizarre move, the game won’t be open to the public. The game will feature the Orioles battling the White Sox in an empty Camden Yards.
“After consultation with Major League Baseball and city and local officials, tomorrow’s game between the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox will begin at 2:05 p.m. ET and will be closed to the public,” the team said in an announcement posted to Twitter.
Orioles announcement regarding schedule changes pic.twitter.com/nwCDyqjzWs
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 28, 2015
Fans who bought tickets for the game, the Orioles said, can exchange them for a ticket to a doubleheader May 28 that will be used to make up the Orioles games scheduled for April 27 and 28, both of which have been canceled due to the riots. Fans unable to attend the doubleheader can also exchange them for a ticket to any other home game this season.
Not only is Wednesday’s games keeping fans out, but the team is also moving an upcoming series from Baltimore to Florida. While the Orioles were supposed to host the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, that series will instead be moved to the Rays’ home stadium at Tropicana Field. The Orioles will still play as the “home team” despite being on the road.
Excluding fans from games isn’t unprecedented in pro sports. In soccer, the approach is known as a “behind closed doors” game. Sometimes, such a game has been used to punish teams whose fans engage in unruly behavior or racial harassment. In Mexico in 2009, several games were played without fans in order to limit the spread of swine flu. It is unclear if this approach has ever been used in a major American professional league, however.
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