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Added May 4th, 2015 by Ian
MLB

MLB history made when Orioles/White Sox game held in empty stadium

With the recent riots in Baltimore, Maryland, Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles cancelled a couple of games at Camden Yards and decided to play them on the road, but they also ended up playing their regularly scheduled game on April 29 in an empty stadium. Officials didn’t want to risk the fans’ safety and shut the ball park to the fans as the Orioles took on the Chicago White Sox. John Thorn, the official historian of MLB, said it was the first time ever in MLB history that fans weren’t allowed to watch a game. However, there have been a couple of minor league contests which banned fans as part of a promotion.

Back in the summer of 2002 Tampa Bay’s Class A affiliate team the Charleston RiverDogs, which are now associated with the New York Yankees, closed their stadium t fans as a publicity stunt. The promotion was called Nobody Night and the Joe Riley Stadium was locked to fans. However, thousands of them gathered outside the ball park as the game began. The spectators watched the first five innings of the contest through the fence and padlocked gates and were then allowed into the stadium after the contest had become official at five innings.

The crowd took their seats for the last four innings, but didn’t see any runs since all six runs were scored in the first five innings of the home team’s 4-2 defeat. As far as the Major Leagues go, there was a home game for the Worcester Ruby Legs held way back in September of 1882 that reportedly attracted just six fans. The lowest modern day attendance was set in 1979 when the Oakland A’s took on the Seattle Mariners in front of just 653 paying customers. Of course, in some sports, most notably soccer, playing in an empty stadium is sometimes par for the course. There have been several instances of soccer club and national team games which have been ordered to be played with no fans.

This typically happens when the team is being punished for unruly fan behaviour. Just last year Russian club CSKA Moscow was ordered by UEFA to play three matches in an empty ground. The empty-stadium order theoretically hurts the club in the pocket book since they lose the revenues for the ticket sales. The Urawa Red Diamonds of the J-League also had to play in an empty stadium in Japan last year. Also in 2009, tennis matches for Sweden’s Davis Cup squad were played in front of empty stands when they took on Israel at home as officials were worried about anti-Israel protests.

When the Orioles cancelled two of their games against the White Sox the club rescheduled them as a single-rice doubleheader on May 28. In addition, Baltimore’s three home games at Camden Yard against Tampa Bay from May 1st to 3rd were all moved to Tampa while things cooled down in Baltimore.

 
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