Chris Davis might have hit the quietest home run for the home team in Orioles history.
As the slugger pounded the ball deep onto Eutaw Street, just a few feet from where fans normally would have sprinted after a chance to catch a souvenir, there was almost nothing to hear.
The only muffled cheers came from a pocket of diehards locked out of Camden Yards yelling “Let’s Go O’s!”
On this day, 30,000 Orioles fans had been muted. The wild applause had been silenced. There were no fans to stand for a standing ovation.
Just Davis’ teammates in the dugout coming over for high-fives.
“When you’re rounding the bases, and the only cheers you hear were from outside the stadium,” he said, “it’s a weird feeling.”
Baseball in Baltimore was closed to the public Wednesday. The shutout in the final score was in the attendance total: Orioles 8, White Sox 2, Fans 0.
MLB decided to play the game behind closed doors because of looting and rioting around Camden Yards that broke out amid tensions between residents and police. The turmoil prompted a citywide curfew and began hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody.
The game was one of the oddest in history, brought alive only by sounds that were unmasked by the absence of fans’ voices.
No cheering for the Orioles, no jeering the umpires. Not an usher, a wave, or one last call for a cold beer.
The sounds of the game popped for the lucky hundreds of players, media or staff allowed inside, with each “whack!” “crack!” and “pop!” echoing throughout empty Camden Yards. Behind the plate, a couple of scouts kept their eyes on the action.
The players were as audible as kids playing backyard Wiffle ball.
The only place full besides the dugouts was the press box, where all 92 seats were taken. Beyond that, TV camera crews lined the field and set up outside the ballpark.
Clearing the bases
Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer recovered from a sprained right thumb and will make his next start on Friday against the New York Mets. … The Nationals signed Jose Valverde to a minor league contract as an insurance policy for their inconsistent bullpen. Valverde, with 288 career saves, last worked as a full-time closer with Detroit in 2012. … MLB ruled that the Cubs did not violate tampering rules when they pursued manager Joe Maddon last fall. … The Diamondbacks placed pitcher Archie Bradley on the 15-day disabled list with a sinus fracture in the right side of his face after he was struck by a line drive. The Diamondbacks called up reliever Enrique Burgos from Double-A Mobile to take Bradley’s place on the roster. … Twins right-hander Phil Hughes has a mild strain of his left hip flexor muscle. … The Reds put left-handed reliever Manny Parra on the 15-day disabled list with a strained neck, opening a roster spot for starter Michael Lorenzen.
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