In what may serve as foreshadowing for many area businesses, the Baltimore Orioles played to zero customers in a surreal spectacle at Camden Yards on Wednesday afternoon.
Adding to the farce, first baseman Chris Davis hurled a ball into the empty stands, catcher Caleb Joseph pantomimed signing autographs for imaginary fans, and the team played, as they have for the last four decades or so, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” during the seventh inning.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 29, 2015
Violence in response to the death of Freddie Gray a week after his arrest catalyzed the decision to play before an empty house. The Orioles instituted a lockdown on Saturday during their extra-innings victory over the Red Sox because of violent protests outside the park that saw skirmishes between fans and demonstrators. The team subsequently postponed Monday and Tuesday’s games against the White Sox and moved weekend “home” games against the Tampa Bay Rays to their home in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The repeated indignities of lockdowns, postponements, and home games moved nearly 1,000 miles away temporarily abated for a few hours Wednesday afternoon as the Orioles played baseball and played it well. And they did so despite the distraction of an absence of distractions.
Chis Davis hit a three-run dinger to lead the Orioles to a six-run first that provided all the run support Ubaldo Jimenez needed. The starter went seven, allowing just three hits and no earned runs.
— SB Nation MLB (@SBNationMLB) April 29, 2015
Manny Machado led the offensive explosion that produced eight runs. The 3-for-4 day from third baseman resulted in three runs scored and knocking in another. The RBI and one of the plate crossings came on a Machado solo shot in the fifth.
The 8-2 victory puts the Orioles at .500 and just two-and-a-half games behind the division-leading New York Yankees in a bunched-up AL East.
View photos of the game below: