Weird and Wrong

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

This afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to square off against the Chicago White Sox. While it’s a home game for Baltimore, there won’t be any Orioles fans in attendance at Camden Yards. For that matter, there won’t be any White Sox fans either. Due to the civic unrest in Baltimore, and following postponement’s of Monday and Tuesday nights’ games, Major League Baseball has made the unprecedented decision to host today’s game in private.

The title of this post reveals my thoughts on the matter. This feels downright un-American. While European football has hosted matches “behind closed doors”, it’s simply not something which has ever been done in the US before. The idea of a professional sports match being played in a vacuum is disturbing, almost dystopian. Given current events, it’s also tone-deaf. Bad things are happening in Baltimore, and forcing these teams to play strikes a sour note.

Rescheduling this game may be difficult, but it’s not as if MLB is unfamiliar with the process. Baseball isn’t an all-weather sport and rain causes games to be rescheduled dozens of times each season. Further, the postponed games from Monday and Tuesday still need to be played, so it hardly seems impossible for this contest to be held at a later date as well.

More To Take In

There’s plenty more to absorb with this story, but let’s boil it down to some peculiar bullet points:

  • This weekend, Baltimore was supposed to host Tampa Bay for three games. Instead, those games will be played down in Florida.

  • Even though the games will be in Tampa Bay, Baltimore will be the “home team” this weekend. Getting to play “at home” on the road is bad enough, but doing it at one of the worst stadiums in the world is a real shit sandwich. Tampa Bay’s stadium is nicknamed “The Trop”, which sounds like a venereal disease, and it only gets worse from there.

  • Baltimore and Tampa Bay are scheduled to play two more weekend series at Tampa Bay this season. Why not swap one of those series with this weekend’s?

  • Baltimore will earn the revenues from whatever tickets manage to sell down for the games down in Florida. Tampa Bay has been the lowest-drawing team for three straight years, and that’s for games which were actually scheduled to be played there, so Baltimore can probably look forward to a nice mid-to-high four-figures check.

  • Fans affected by these schedule changes will be able to exchange their tickets on a “dollar for dollar” basis, but it appears no refunds will be issued. As well, exchanging requires either a trip to the box office or via certified mail.

Just Don’t Do It

There’s a whole lot of baseball-related lousiness going on here, but today’s game is undoubtedly the worst part of the whole mess. Holding a sporting event in the middle of a rioting city is fraught enough, but at least a claim could be made of doing it for the fans desiring a dose of normality. Playing to an empty stadium, however, will only alienate the public further. If a city isn’t safe enough to host a baseball game in front of a crowd, it shouldn’t host a baseball game at all.

Nevertheless, that’s what’s scheduled to happen this afternoon. While you can’t see it in person, this bizarre Orioles—White Sox matchup is available to watch free on MLB.tv at 2 PM. It should really be something to see.


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