Orioles teammates Chris Davis and Manny Machado both homered in an 8-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards on Wednesday, which was strange. Why strange? Because pretty much no one saw it – at least not anyone in the stadium.
The game was closed to the public due to safety concerns amid the riots in Baltimore.
“It was pretty surreal,” MASNSports.com Orioles insider Roch Kubatko said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They had some fans that gathered outside one of the fences, so they were yelling and cheering and you could hear them clearly because it was so quiet otherwise. You could hear guys in the dugout, you could hear coaches yelling instructions – you were right on top of the action.”
Despite the unrest in Baltimore, Kubatko said the area surrounding the ball park felt fairly safe.
“It’s just a strange situation because when the rioting had started, you were hearing about groups of protestors coming close to the ballpark,” Kubatko said. “And yet, inside the ball park, you never would have known anything was (happening). But because of social media now, you check Twitter and you can follow along with everything that’s going on. You were aware without actually seeing it. So it was a little bit unsettling, but we never feared for our lives. The Orioles did a great job with the city with having the proper amount of security. But that’s why they postponed two games and played this one early. Because they know that police and the national guard have more important things to do than to be at the ball park.”
Kubatko’s biggest concern was walking to his car after the game. He was just hoping that his windshield hadn’t been busted.
“It was fine,” he said. “I live in the suburbs, so I was able to get out quickly. I know people that had to drive through the city ad they were being redirected. They were told what roads were closed, what areas to avoid. I think some employees were told that they had to stay a little bit longer before they were able to leave, but I was able to kind of duck out quickly and get (home).”
Still, certain parts of Baltimore look like a war zone. There’s police, there’s national guard, there’s law-enforcement officials with rifles. It’s intense.
“It’s not as if you’re seeing any kind of destruction right around the ball park, but there’s certainly pockets in the city that were destroyed,” Kubatko said. “This is sad for all of us to see – buildings on fire and cars and all the destruction. Again, this is our city. It kind of breaks your heart to see that. Now people are trying to clean up at the same time. There’s a fear that there could be more demonstrations over the weekend, so is there going to be more destruction now? At what point does this finally end?”
Kubatko said that Orioles players huddled around a television before Wednesday’s game to keep track of the latest developments, which Buck Showalter didn’t mind. On the one hand, he wants his players to focus on the game. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to be insensitive to what’s going on in the city.
“That’s why I was impressed that they were able to come out (Wednesday) and play as well as they did with all the distractions and all the worries,” Kubatko said.