As baseball fans of the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox filed into Camden Yards in Baltimore, the game between the two American League teams was postponed due to the violent riots taking place a few miles outside the stadium. Protesting has been going on in the city since earlier this afternoon following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who was allegedly killed by Baltimore Police after not being properly treated for his injuries in police custody on April 19.
Baseball’s commissioner Robert D. Manfred had planned to attend tonight’s game and ultimately called the game off about 40 minutes before first pitch. About 1,000 fans were inside the stadium eager to see the game take place before the announcement. After Friday’s game at Camden Yards, fans were not allowed to leave the park for a brief time due to a small group of violent protesters near the stadium.
After consultation with Baltimore City Police Department, tonight’s game between the Orioles & White Sox at Oriole Park has been postponed.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 27, 2015
Manfred made the right decision to keep the fans and members of both teams safe during this time of unrest nearby.
“We feel like we made the decision that would provide us the greatest possible security in terms of protecting the fans, the players, the umpires, everybody involved in the game,” Manfred said. “I don’t know what more I can say about it at this point.”
Soon enough, a line of police officers guarded the stadium from any protesters damaging the park and Orioles players were seen leaving the parking lot in their cars, fleeing the city after receiving word that the game was not going to be played. White Sox players and personnel were escorted and guided back to the team hotel by police.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura wasn’t under a rock and was keeping tabs on the situation.
“I mean we’re definitely keeping tabs on it. If there’s anything to do, to go ahead and respond to it. But you know, it’s concerning to anybody, I think, any time it becomes a violent protest, everybody is on high alert and you’re trying to do what’s best for the game and the players,” Ventura said.
The series is a three-game set in Baltimore, and with the ongoing riots not seeming to quiet down, Manfred has given the idea of possibly moving the games to Washington D.C. at Nationals Park, which is approximately 38 miles away. The Nationals are on the road in Atlanta playing the Braves, so it is a realistic destination.
This isn’t the first time that MLB has had to shift games to different venues due to conflicts.
In 1967, the Orioles and Detroit Tigers had to postpone a game following riots in Detroit as the series moved to Baltimore.
Riots in response to the acquittal of the police officers accused of beating Rodney King caused the Angels to cancel four games in 1992.
Lets keep praying that the violence and riots end as soon as possible so that the Orioles can continue to play baseball in their great historic ballpark.
Follow Lucas Barrett on Twitter @Lukiee_Dukiee