Fanless Baltimore Orioles Game Could Be An MLB First

Fanless Baltimore Orioles Game Could Be An MLB First
The upcoming Orioles-White Sox matchup in Baltimore is closed to the public as demonstrators continue to seek answers in the death of Freddie Gray.

The series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox will go on, but fans won't be there to see it happen. 

The Orioles organization along with Major League Baseball postponed the game against the White Sox Tuesday and said the series will resume in Baltimore Wednesday, but the team's nearly 46,000-seat stadium will be closed to the public. (Video via WMAR

The Orioles' statement didn't say why fans will be kept out, but the assumed explanation is public safety. Schools have been closed, and events have been canceled because of riots following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died while in custody of Baltimore police. 

Demonstrators fought with baseball fans Saturday as the two groups clashed on the outskirts of Camden Yards while the hometown Orioles played the Boston Red Sox. (Video via WJZ-TV)

That same night, Baltimore's mayor and local law enforcement urged fans within the Orioles' ballpark to remain in their seats until further notice. 

Riots have caused games to be postponed before, but a regular season game played in front of no one might be a first. The Elias Sports Bureau, a company that compiles baseball stats, told The Guardian there's "no way of determining if there was a precedent for two teams playing to an empty ballpark in over 100 years of professional baseball."

So, why play the game at all? MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN's Mike and Mike that teams have to keep playing so their schedules aren't backlogged with unplayed games.

"As you know, we play 162 in 183 days. Cancellations are difficult for us. So, as we move forward, we'll have to consider alternatives that are focused more on getting the games played as opposed to how many fans will get to see the games," Manfred said

Along with Wednesday's closed game at Camden Yards, the Orioles will play against the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida this weekend instead of in Baltimore as originally planned. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.