BALTIMORE –- Helicopters circled Oriole Park on Saturday night as demonstrators in the Freddie Gray rally protested beyond its gates. Despite the at-times contentious scene outside, inside the atmosphere remained much like that of any other Orioles game.
Before the bottom of the ninth, an announcement was made asking fans to stay inside the ballpark “until further notice” because of an “ongoing public safety issue.” Another announcement came in the bottom of the 10th allowing fans to leave.
The Orioles had anticipated a crowd of over 40,000, but thousands of seats were left unfilled.
Adam Jones has devoted lots of money and lots of time to community issues in Baltimore. Jones follows current affairs, and was well aware of Saturday's protests.
“It’s not about what I do for the city, it’s about that it can happen at any other city. An African American is an African American, it doesn’t matter that I’m in Baltimore,” Jones said.
“I just want people to be safe during this issue. It’s a tough issue. I think everybody needs to get all the facts. Stay safe, stay smart. Protest, but let’s not damage our own city. At the end of the day, you got to live here.”
Chris Davis has also shown a fondness for Baltimore. In 2013, he said he hoped he could stay here for an extended time.
“We understand what’s going on and we understand people are upset and rightfully so. But I think there’s a constructive way to protest and there’s a destructive way to protest. I think for us, I think we’d rather see people get their point across without damaging anything or put anybody’s lives in jeopardy. I hope this blows over and we can get past it and move forward because this is too good of a city for this to happen,” Davis said.
Manager Buck Showalter has become an energetic booster for Baltimore, speaking of its virtues to a large group of business people that included Gov. Larry Hogan late last year.
Showalter had a rough day. He attended a memorial service for his father-in-law in Nashville, and publicly thanked the team’s managing general partner, Peter Angelos, for letting him use his private jet.
He heard about the situation when the team’s traveling secretary, Kevin Buck, picked him up at the airport.
After the game, he thought about what he and the city had been through on Saturday.
"Believe me, it's something I've thought about. Obviously, my attention was elsewhere today with our family, but it's something that I'll probably have to get my arms around. I'm not really there yet,” Showalter said.
“It's a challenging day for a lot of people, but probably a lot more than a baseball game. It's a game of baseball and those are life issues, so this kind of pales in comparison to what's going on in my life off the field and what's going on in our city. Just have to continue to have confidence that we'll get through it like we get through most things in Baltimore and hopefully learn from it."
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