An age old premise of baseball - if you play fans will come - was tested today in Baltimore. Nobody came, but the Orioles still played.
Yes, the National Anthem cranked out of the loud speakers before the game. No, the crowd did not scream the "O" as is Baltimore custom, though a vocal group of fans ammassed beyond the left center wall, behind the bullpens and Camden Yards picnic area, did. The fans could be heard inside too, more than 500 feet away, as could police sirens, helicopters, and even chatter from the dugouts and the field.
The scene was surreal. The cavernous stadium silent but for the crack of the bat and the ball hitting leather. This is not meant as some ode to romantic baseball of times past, it's just the reality of Major League Baseball in an empty stadium. The TV cameras still rolled, the jumbotron in centerfield still lit up with stats, the press box full beyond capacity.
But nobody in the stands. Foul balls fell to the ground, smacked between seats, with not a single skirmish.
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) April 29, 2015
Ed. Note: Fans were not allowed into the game due to ongoing civic unrest in Baltimore. For more on that, click here.