What if they played a baseball game and no one came? No ticket takers, ushers, food vendors. Just the players, the umpires, coaches and media. What if no fans were allowed to come in, not even for free?

Unfortunately, due to the violence that took place in Baltimore this week, that’s what happened. Wednesday at 2:05 p.m. Eastern, for the first time in the history of Major League Baseball, that game took place between Baltimore and the Chicago White Sox. It was a game that took 2 hours and three minutes to play and the home team came away with the win by an 8-2 score with an announced attendance of zero.

Zip.

Zilch.

Nada.

Nihil.

You get the picture.

While there are bigger fish to fry than a baseball game, some would say that those that work at Camden Yards were inconvienced by the behavior of those that chose to riot, throw rocks and bricks at police, loot, steal and burn things down were right in being angry. There was loss of property due to theft and fires, not to mention destuction of police cars

Yes, you have a right to be angry with your government and your police department and yes, you have a right to protest. You don’t have the right to burn that which is not yours, loot and pillage and throw rocks at the people that are trying to serve and protect you. Things were a bit calmer Wednesday in Baltimore as people protested peacefully in the downtown area. Some fans that were wanting to watch baseball, if only for a few hours to ease their minds from the violence that rocked their city, stood outside Camden Yards, yelling “let us in.” The Orioles should or could have at least let them come in for a few minutes but chose not to take police officers that were needed in other parts of the city for stadium security.

Freddie Gray was laid to rest Monday. While there were some that called for calm, others took matters into their hands and chose to throw rocks and bricks at police, who were trying to help them. Granted, the Baltimore Police Department has some blood on their hands as well but the real problem are those that chose violence instead of listening to each other. This is not what he would have wanted, this is not what anyone would have wanted but it happened. If he were alive, he would probably tell those that looted, stole, burned and attacked police, “not in my name.”

Wednesday, while a baseball game was played in an empty stadium with only players, umpires, media and essential staff present, a city tried to regain its composure. It’s still an uneasy peace with a 10 p.m. curfew still in place. Adam Jones, star outfielder for the Orioles, told the media in the post-game conference, “It’s not the easiest [situation to be in],” Jones conceded Wednesday, before the Orioles played a home game behind locked gates with no fans in attendance. “But I understand.” Jones, who is the face of the franchise, is also the city’s higest-profile African-American athlete.” For the past week, as streets in his adopted city were overrun with looters and fires raged after Gray, a young African-American man, died while in police custody, it has taken a toll.  Jones went on to say “I say to the youth, ‘Your frustration is warranted. The actions, I don’t think are acceptable.’ If you come from where they come from, you understand. But ruining the community that you have to live in is never the answer due to the fact that you’re going to have to wake up in three or four days and go back to those convenience stores, go back to all these stores. “This is their cry. This isn’t a cry that is acceptable but this is their cry and therefore, we have to understand it. They need hugs. They need love. They need support. As much as I can give, as much as I know people on the opposition can give, I’m going to try and give as much as I can, because the city needs it.”

The problems of the world or the city of Baltimore cannot be repaired overnight. It doesn’t work that way. For a few hours, two teams took batting practice and played a baseball game, while the rest of the city held its breath, hoping that there would be no more violence. It was almost sureal, as if no one noticed or cared, described in Thursday morning’s USA Today by White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton “It’s kind of Field of Dream-ish – just a baseball game.” There was a National Anthem, there was a seventh inning stretch and the Orioles did play John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” during the stretch but aside from the media, grounds crew, ball girls and players that were there, it was quiet at Camden Yards, for some a bit too quiet.

What if they played a baseball game and no one came?

More specifically, what if no one was allowed to come?

Wednesday afternoon in Camden Yards, that very thing took place and unlike the tree falling in the forest, someone at least got to hear it. The Orioles and White Sox for a few hours played a game that no one got to see. There was frustration and that frustration was understandable but given the events that actually took place Sunday, the safety of the city trumped the needs of the fans. If Freddie Gray were with us, he would have told those that wanted to go to have a good time, have fun and be safe. The Orioles were to play Tampa Bay at Camden Yards this weekend but the powers that be decided to move the games to St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field, where the Orioles will be the designated home team.

When the Orioles return May 11th against Toronto, hopefully things will be somewhat calmer and there will be normalcy. People will be getting ready for work, school and the Preakness that will fill the city with residents and visitors to Charm City.

And baseball that fans can see in person.

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