Five unusual things you will see in Orioles-White Sox game with no crowd

  • David Whitlock

Oriole Park is in the middle of the volatile situation
Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Overshadowed by a State of Emergency within the city, Major League Baseball and the City of Baltimore made the prudent move to close access to the public into Oriole Park at Camden Yards for Wednesday’s afternoon tilt against the Chicago White Sox.  The decision was driven by the riots associated with a death of Freddie Gray in police custody.  Games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday were cancelled after riots erupted around the Sunday Orioles game.  The situation deteriorated on Monday with the funeral of Mr. Gray further evoking anger and emotion from those feeling that Mr. Gray’s death was wrong.  In today’s society, it’s hard to imagine a baseball game with no crowd.  Sure, teams like the Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, and Houston Astros have drawn in the “thousands” in recent years, but no crowd?  What will this look like?  Here are five things that you might not expect, but will very likely be seen if you watch on TV.

1) There will be some people in the crowd

The game is closed to the public, but there are a number of credentialed personnel who will likely be there.  Staff of one or both of the teams.  Scouts.  Media.  Guests of the teams.  So when you look in the stands, it won’t be a game played as if the stands are completely closed.  You will see people strewn about.  In the hundreds.

2) You’ll hear dugout chatter

Much like your local little league baseball or softball field, players are constantly chattering support for their players, talking smack to get in the heads of opposing pitchers, and in general, just supporting one another.  Now the dull background noise of the crowd will not be there to drown it out.  This also means players talking trash might be recognizable by the opposing team.  Think playground basketball trash talk.

3) Keep the dub button handy

Professional athletes have been known to use swear words from time to time.  Sometimes a field microphone catches it over the crowd noise.  Without crowd noise, it will be hard to hide.  I hope the truck guy with the job of dubbing any questionable language is paying attention (games are a few seconds delayed for this reason).  He won’t have much downtime!

4) Field communication

Another thing more transparent without crowd noise would be talk on the field.  Think about the infield reminding each other that the play is at second.  Watch for the bunt.  He’s tagging up.  All that stuff.  It will be like your local softball game.  All will be heard.

5) Walk up music? Introductions? Announcements?  TBD.

So with just a few hundred fans in the stands, is there a PA guy?  Does he play walk-up music for the benefit of the player?  Sometimes those announcements are made for the media.  I bet they happen anyway.  Kind of surreal.

Who knows really what to expect, except the unexpected.  It will be a surreal environment in Oriole Park at Camden Yards tomorrow.  Kind of like their city has been since the riots ensued.

Note that this weekend’s Orioles-Rays series has been moved to Tampa.  Might also have about no crowd there since no pregame sales and Rays.

– David Whitlock

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David Whitlock

David Whitlock - manager

David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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