The No Fans Game
(Baltimore) 2015 has been a memorable year for me, especially the month of April, even more so this past week. I wrote about the turmoil that happened on April 25th, which I had to witness via Television. Monday, April 27th, I took a break from all sports and focused on helping create a better image of our city after one of our worst moments.
The MLB was forced to postpone the Orioles game with the White Sox. A game in which I acquired media credentials, my first professional game as a media member. A game that was slated to be a regular O's vs. Sox game, turned out to be a once in a lifetime moment.
I can tell my grand kids I attended a game where there were ZERO fans in attendance, and honestly, it may have been the best game I ever experienced. Media members who were over the age 50 were marveled by the historical moment, still being able to witness something they have never seen before despite years of experience.
Prior to the game, I didn't know what to expect, which made me feel very indifferent. Fan's bring excitement to the game and help generate momentum. I thought it would be a drag to watch a "lifeless" game but once the first pitch was thrown, it turned out to be one of the best moments of my life.
In the 1st inning, the O's got off to a fast start. Ubaldo Jimenez sat down the first three batters to open the game, striking out both Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu. Ubaldo had himself a good day, going 7 innings, only allowing 3 hits and 2 earned runs. I would say Ubaldo set the tone for the team and killed my curiosity about how the momentum would build. Fans outside the gate helped also.
The game was pretty much over after the first inning. The entire Orioles' lineup got the opportunity to face White Sox's starter, Jeff Samardzija, who had a very rough day in a quiet stadium. Samardzija went 5 innings, giving up 7 earned runs, 6 of which came in the 1st.
Chris Davis hit a 3-run bomb onto to Eutaw Street, giving the O's an early 6-0 lead.
Manny Machado also hit a home run in the 4th inning, jogging the bases in an empty stadium. It was a surreal feeling being a part of history. Oriole fans showed much support cheering from outside of the stadium, making sure you heard them loud and clear.
As the game went on, I started to fall in love with the beauty of the game. No fans meant no show. I was blessed with the opportunity to watch baseball at it's purest form. You could hear the players call out fly balls in the outfield. Without the fans, there were no distractions from the game. You had to sit and actually watch the ballgame, which for me, was very refreshing and ironic, being that our brand is based solely on being a fan.
The game only took 2 hours and 3 minutes to complete. An average MLB game is at least 3 hours in duration, but things seemed to have went quickly with no one in attendance.
At the 1:51 mark, you'll hear me ask O's manager, Buck Showalter, a question that has made a few headlines across the country. I would like to thank Buck for answering my question and giving me an honest and genuine answer.
Baltimore is going through a crisis right now which is the reason why this historical game happened. People seem to be uncomfortable talking about why the game was fanless. I noticed a lot of the media coverage for this game choose not to speak on what was going on outside of the stadium. I understand why one would want to speak only on Baseball but when you have historical moments, you have to examine the good, the bad, and the ugly of the situation. I'm not telling other media outlets to speak on the crisis in Baltimore but I will assure you that Fan-I Sports will bring that conversation to the public.