29 Apr 2015

Baltimore stadium closed to fans

7:59 pm on 29 April 2015

In what will be a first for Major League Baseball, the Baltimore Orioles will host the Chicago White Sox on Thursday in a stadium closed to fans as the city copes with some of the worst rioting in years.

Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis

Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The team's games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday nights were postponed after Baltimore erupted in violence following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a black man who died while in police custody.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake set a week-long curfew in the city beginning on Tuesday.

Major League Baseball has never played a game without fans, said MLB's official historian, John Thorn.

"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," MLB 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 Orioles said on Tuesday that games scheduled at Camden Yard Friday through Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays would be moved to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

This week's postponed Orioles-White Sox games will be made up as part of a doubleheader at Camden Yards on May 28.