The Orioles – and as a result the White Sox and Rays – have had some major changes to their schedules as a result of the riots in Baltimore. The Orioles feel at a disadvantage for losing three games in their home stadium (being the home team at Tropicana Field is not really being home), although overall this seems to be the best option for all teams involved. Team members have indicated they agree with the decision by MLB and the city of Baltimore, and manager Buck Showalter is considering this just another challenge a team might face during the season.
Obviously, I’m a baseball fan (and an Orioles fan) so I’m paying attention to the schedule changes. I’m also fairly close to Baltimore (my house is 44 miles from Camden Yards) so this is happening close to home. I can’t help but wonder how people who aren’t near Baltimore and aren’t baseball fans perceive these changes. It must seem like MLB and the city of Baltimore rearranged these schedules to accommodate for millionaire baseball players.
To a certain point, that’s true. The Orioles stayed safe in their homes and the White Sox stayed safe in their hotel. But the fans stayed home too – along with employees of Camden Yards and hundreds of other Baltimore businesses. The effects of the schedule changes were felt by more than just millionaire baseball players, just like the effects of the riots are effecting people in Baltimore and across the nation (maybe even the world).
Like many other cities and many other stadiums, the area around Camden Yards is buzzing before, during, and after Orioles games. There are several bars and restaurants around the stadium that are packed with fans in orange. Trying to leave Baltimore after a game is a nightmare because of the volume of cars and poorly designed streets leading to the freeways out of the city. But even with all the chaos, it’s exciting. Orioles fans love their team, and their team seems to love them back.
It’s so strange to think of that area as quiet. No game for two days, and a game closed to the public today. There were some dedicated fans standing outside the park, trying to see anything they could over the fences – but they’re only a fraction of the number of fans usually sitting in Camden Yards.
The sad thing to remember in all of this – bigger than inconveniencing baseball – is everything and everyone effected by the changes MLB and the Orioles (plus White Sox, Rays, and the Rays organization/St. Petersburg) were forced to make. If bars/restaurants around the stadium are open, they’re seeing a huge drop in sales. If they’re closed, their employees aren’t getting paid. The people employed at Camden Yards have missed work Monday and Tuesday, only a few worked today, and they’ll all miss work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That’s a big hit to citizens of a city that’s already suffering.
Whatever you may think of the events happening in Baltimore, or the changes baseball made as a result of the riots, I hope you remember how many people this all affects as whole. Baltimore isn’t a bad city, and I would highly recommend any baseball fan see a game at Camden Yards – it’s a great experience and a beautiful park. It’s a shame to see this happening in any city, let alone one so close to home.
For everyone involved, in any way, I hope the situation in Baltimore resolves soon so the city can begin to heal and recover. Hopefully, baseball and the Orioles can soon be a bright spot for a city that has greatly suffered recently.