In a completely unprecedented move for Major League Baseball, commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to close this afternoon's game at Baltimore's Camden Yards to the public - but the game is still on, resulting in a historic game that the entire country is invited to watch.
Camden Yards, where the Orioles play, isn't all that far from the epicenter of the protests in Baltimore, leading to concerns over fan safety. Plus, any law enforcement officers assigned to keep watch on a baseball game come at a high cost during a time when the Baltimore Police Department is putting all of its resources into dealing with the city's current unrest. Some activists called on MLB to shut the gates to fans, but not to cancel or postpone the game. And MLB agreed.
"After conversations with the Orioles and local officials, we believe that these decisions are in the best interests of fan safety and the deployment of city resources," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by violence in Baltimore, and everyone in our game hopes for peace and the safety of a great American city."
The Baltimore Orioles posted this notice to their official Twitter account:
Fans are invited to watch the game on TV from the relative safety of their own homes or neighborhood bars.
It's hard to imagine what this game will sound like - eerily quiet, more like a golf tournament than a baseball game. We'll be able to hear the players shouting at each other, sounds that are normally drowned out by the buzz of the crowd in the stands. There will be no jubilant crowd roar for a home run. And then there's the sight of a baseball game being played with no fans in the stands - no crowd shots of cute babies in their fan gear, no one to catch the foul balls and home runs. Make no mistake about it, for reasons both inside and outside of Camden Yards, this game is historic.
MLB.tv's Free Game of the Day is nothing new, but the decision to fill that spot with this particular game today is noteworthy. This isn't just another baseball game in a very long baseball season. By making it free to watch online for everyone outside of the teams' Baltimore and Chicago territories, the entire country has been invited to witness a moment in baseball history and to consider why it's happening.
Check out MLB.tv to watch the Baltimore Orioles host the Chicago White Sox at 2:05pm ET today (4/29/15).
This article first appeared on Brad's Deals.