Empty stands in Baltimore
The Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox caused some echoes in Camden Yards yesterday as they played in front of a record-setting crowd of zero attendees. Due to all the uncertainty in the wake of the Baltimore riots this past week, two games at Camden Yards had been postponed before Major League Baseball decided that yesterday’s game must go on, albeit, sans crowd. It was an unexpected way to set the lowest-ever attendance in Major League Baseball history, but with the city in such a state of unrest, safety was the first priority.
Not all fans contented themselves with missing the game, however, as fans stood outside the gates in left field or on the deck of the hotel that overlooks the stadium. These fans cheered as Baltimore put on an offensive show that led them to a 9-2 victory.
While this was the first time in MLB history that a crowd of zero was recorded in the book, it’s not the first time in the history of all of baseball that it has happened. In fact, just earlier this year on March 8, 2015, Stony Brook University’s baseball team played a doubleheader against Fordham that was closed to the public due to a tremendous buildup of snow. On March 11th, UConn and Sacred Heart had a game moved to Stony Brook, where no fans were allowed because of the ice in the bleachers.
Perhaps my favorite zero-attendance story, however, took place on July 8, 2002, when Joe Riley Stadium did a promotion called “Nobody Night.” The idea behind the promotion was to set the record for professional baseball’s lowest attendance. Everyone but employees, scouts and media was barred from entering the stadium until the fifth inning, when the game became official.
Amusing as it is, however, the events that led to yesterday’s crowd (or lack thereof) are nothing to joke about. As Orioles left-hander Zach Britton commented, “It kind of makes you realize how small baseball is compared to some of the other issues in the U.S. and around the world.”
To see the Huffington Post‘s complete set of pictures from yesterday’s game, click here.