The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Orioles, White Sox to play Wednesday in empty stadium [updated]

Police stand watch outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards before the game was postponed between the Orioles and the White Sox on Monday. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Baltimore Orioles will play the final game of their scheduled series against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday in unusual circumstances because of the widespread strife throughout the city: Camden Yards will play host to first pitch at 2:05 p.m., but the ballpark will be closed to the public.

The Orioles also have moved their weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays, scheduled for Friday through Sunday at Camden Yards, to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., a reaction to the 10 p.m. curfew instituted by Baltimore officials following the riots that enveloped the city Monday night in the wake of the funeral for Freddie Gray, an African American man who died after suffering injuries in an incident with police.

The decision to play in an empty ballpark will cost the Orioles revenue: no ticket sales, no concessions, no parking. The first two games of the series against the White Sox, scheduled for 7:05 p.m. starts Monday and Tuesday nights, have been postponed, and the club announced it will make up those games in a 4:05 p.m. doubleheader on May 28 at Camden Yards.

“We strongly believe that at this point Baltimore needs to focus its resources on restoring calm,” Orioles spokesman Greg Bader said. “That’s everybody’s priority right now, including ours.”

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ordered a 10 p.m. curfew beginning Tuesday and lasting a week. Of the four Orioles’ home games remaining in that time – the club has a scheduled off day Thursday – only Sunday was slated to be played in the afternoon.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred was in Baltimore Monday for a previously scheduled meeting, and he suggested then that the league and the clubs were exploring several options.

One could have been to use Nationals Park in Washington because the Nationals are on a road trip that lasts through the weekend. But a Nationals spokeswoman said Tuesday, ““The Nationals have not been approached about the possibility of playing games at Nationals Park.” Another source said that playing in Washington was “not a realistic option” for the Orioles, even though Nationals Park sits less than 40 miles south of Camden Yards.

Playing at Nationals Park also would have created an odd dynamic because the Orioles and Nationals are currently embroiled in a legal battle over revenue generated by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which the teams co-own.

Another option that was considered for Tuesday’s game was an afternoon start. But even a 4:05 p.m. first pitch would leave open the possibility that stadium workers – particularly groundskeepers and the clean-up crew – as well as media would be at Camden Yards after 10 p.m.

The White Sox do not make another trip to Baltimore this season, and while the Orioles are off  Thursday, Chicago is scheduled to continue its road trip with a game in Minnesota.