BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles’ home game against the Chicago White Sox was postponed Monday night because of safety concerns after riots broke out near Camden Yards following the funeral of Freddie Gray.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, at the stadium for a previously planned visit, said Tuesday night’s game between the Orioles and White Sox could be moved – possibly to Nationals Park in Washington – if safety continued to be an issue. Click here to a view a slideshow of the protests.
Rioters looted stores and threw rocks and bricks at Baltimore police about three miles from the stadium in the wake of the mysterious death of Gray. He died April 19 after suffering a severe spinal injury in police custody.
The Orioles announced the postponement about 40 minutes before gametime. About 1,000 fans were inside the stadium at the time, and many gates already had been closed.
The team said the game was called off after consultation with police. The White Sox were in Baltimore for the start of a three-game series.
“We feel like we made the decision that would provide us the greatest possible security in terms of protecting the fans, the players, the umpires, everybody involved in the game,” Manfred said. “I don’t know what more I can say about it at this point.”
Prior to the game, Orioles players gathered around a television in the clubhouse and watched the violence unfold. Police blocked off several streets near Camden Yards.
“There’s so many things that go on that you get challenged with, obviously this is a different level,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s not a lot of experience with it.”
“So you try to take each moment as it comes and I know there were a lot of calls to some guys’ families about making sure they knew what was going on from a safety standpoint. But guys are watching it. They are all aware of what’s going on,” he said.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said his team was aware of the escalating situation.
“I mean we’re definitely keeping tabs on it. If there’s anything to do, to go ahead and respond to it. But you know, it’s concerning to anybody, I think, any time it becomes a violent protest, everybody is on high alert and you’re trying to do what’s best for the game and the players,” he said.
There was no immediate word on a makeup date for Monday’s game.
Major League Baseball has postponed and shifted games in the past because of unrest.
In 1992, the Dodgers had four games postponed in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict.
In 1967, the Orioles and Tigers had a game postponed because of riots in Detroit. The next two games were shifted to Baltimore.