Story by the Chicago Tribune
After two straight postponements due to security reasons in Baltimore, the White Sox and Orioles will meet Wednesday at Camden Yards.
But there’s one catch. The teams will play Wednesday’s game at 2:05 p.m. ET in front of an empty stadium because the game will be closed to the public.
The Orioles said they consulted with Major League Baseball and local and state officials about the best way to move forward in the midst of violent protests following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who suffered a spinal injury while in police custody earlier this month.
The Sox were updated about potential options when the first two games were canceled Monday and Tuesday. Sox general manager Rick Hahn said they were open to whatever was in the best interest of public safety, though he said it was ultimately the decision of the Orioles and MLB.
The empty stadium Wednesday will ensure that the game will not divert the attention of police away from other areas that may need it, Hahn said. He guessed that the atmosphere will be akin to a minor-league spring training game and couldn’t think of a similar situation in the past beyond some European soccer contests played without spectators.
“It’s going to be an interesting experience, a little bit different but obviously from a safety standpoint it makes sense,” Hahn said. “Also it helps potentially relieve some of the log jams later in the season in terms of makeup games.”
Sox catcher Tyler Flowers and center fielder Adam Eaton said they were interested to see what the game will be like.
“Catching wise it might be more pleasant for me, not hearing people make fun of me,” Flowers said. “I think I’ll be locked in when I’m on the field.”
“The only disadvantage may be for the home team because you kind of feed off the energy,” Eaton said. “When you’re on the road there’s not much energy in your favor usually. If anything Baltimore may be slighted a little bit.”
As for the upcoming doubleheader, the Sox must forfeit one of three off days in the month of May, one that was supposed to come during a three-city, nine-game road trip. Hahn said there wasn’t much the Sox could do to block that scheduling.
“We realize we’ve got to make some sacrifices and one of them is going to be that off day,” Hahn said. “Look, there’s more serious concerns than an off day right now. We get it, and we’ll deal with it as that road trip unfolds.”
Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija will start Wednesday’s game and will face Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. After being rained out Saturday against the Royals, the Sox have played only on Sunday over the last four days.