If you were around on April 29, 2015, you might have just witnessed one of the most interesting, most polarizing and weirdest games in MLB history.
It happened on a quiet afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, where the Baltimore Orioles played host to the Chicago White Sox.
The Orioles won 8-2, in 123 minutes, in front of a paid attendance of 0.
You read that right, 0.
This was the first crowd-less game ever played in MLB history, but of course, this didn’t just happen for no reason.
Ten days prior, a man named Freddie Gray died under police custody, causing mass riots to break out in the city. As a result, most security was directed towards the riots and there was not sufficient enough security measures to be allotted towards the stadium.
This was supposed to be the third game in the series, but the first two were postponed due to the riots and unsafe conditions surrounding the stadium. So, both teams and the MLB decided to play the series finale in the afternoon, in front of a paid attendance of 0.
You might think, hey, Nationals Park is 45 minutes away. Why not play there? Well, you would be right and yes, that’s a great idea, but there’s this low-hanging fruit that exists called the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) that is 90 percent controlled by the Orioles and 10 percent controlled by the Washington Nationals.
At the time, there were problems between the two teams regarding revenue from the network, since it was shared between the two teams, and there is a possibility that said problems made the Orioles avoid re-locating the game there.
So, the game was played, one of the most controversial in MLB history, not for the game itself, but everything else that wasn’t the game.
Now, fans did show up, standing outside the outfield gate and renting hotel rooms nearby that overlook Camden Yards, but there were no fans inside the stadium.
Reportedly, the Orioles said they lost about $1 million in revenue from that game alone.
And while there were no fans in the stands, ironically, as The Baltimore Sun reported, the press box was completely filled, over three times more than what was expected in the first game of the series.
But you don’t care about that. You care about the game.
So, let’s talk about the game. To be honest, the game was not that intriguing. The Orioles had a six-run first inning and basically, the White Sox never built up any momentum to get back in the game.
Chris Davis hit a three-run home run in the first, the shot heard round Camden Yards because the sound of the ball hitting the bat echoed, loudly.
Yes, this is the same Chris Davis that I talked about a few articles ago that had the worst qualifying season of any hitter in MLB history in 2018.
When a foul ball was hit into the stands, nothing happened.
When a runner was rounding third, there were no fans rising to their feet in a giant uproar.
When a batter did not hit the ball, you could hear the pop of the ball hitting the glow just as loud.
It was just a weird, weird moment in MLB history where the events and outcomes of the game were a complete 180 from everything that was happening outside the game.