BALTIMORE, Maryland (PIX11) – The Baltimore Orioles announced Tuesday that their next home game will be played behind closed doors amid fears of rioting and unrest in the city.
On Wednesday, the White Sox and Orioles will face each other before rows of empty seats following Monday’s destructive riots that left twenty officers hurt, multiple stores ransacked and more than 100 vehicles and 19 buildings torched.
After consulting with league officials, the Orioles’ upcoming three-game series scheduled for May 1-3 will be moved to the Rays stadium, Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. All fans with tickets to games on April 29, May 1, May 2 or May 3 can exchange them for a future game on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
While sometimes a necessary measure to deal with violent fans in soccer, playing before an empty stadium has not been done by Major League Baseball teams. MLB historian John Thorn said that what the Orioles are doing is a first for the sport, FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal tweeted. The fewest number of fans ever to attend a game was six, in a September, 1882 game in Worcester, Massachusetts, he said.
While not a regular season game, the 1998 Yankees shut the doors to the public for an exhibition game against a minor league team after a beam crashed down on the empty stadium seats the day before.
Generally, Major League Baseball tries to relocate or postpone games.
In May of 1992, Los Angeles exploded in riots after police brutally beat Rodney King, forcing the Dodgers to postpone four straight home games which were later made up with doubleheaders.