Baltimore Orioles: Rob Manfred Passes First Test as MLB Commissioner
By Mike Smith
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For the past week, violent protests have had a major impact on the city of Baltimore. People have been looting neighborhood stores, setting fire to cars, and a city-wide 10 p.m. curfew was put into place.
This has caused a lot of safety concerns for the city of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Orioles. Nobody is suggesting that the Orioles current nine-game homestand bears any importance in comparison to what’s going on in the surrounding city, but it does create an interesting dynamic.
New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred just so happened to be in town on Monday, when the Orioles were scheduled to begin a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox. Manfred was immediately put into a tough position, as the curfew and safety concerns seemed to make MLB games impossible.
After meeting with city and law enforcement officials, Monday’s game was postponed, while they worked on figuring out the next two games against Chicago, as well as the three-game series set to take place over the weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays.
On Tuesday, the news broke. MLB had decided to postpone Tuesday’s game as well, and it would be made up, along with Monday’s game, in a doubleheader on May 28th. Wednesday’s game would be moved from 7:05 to 2:05, and it would be closed to the public. Finally, the three games with the Rays would be moved to Tampa Bay, with the Orioles still acting as the home team in their home uniforms, and batting last.
I can’t imagine that this was an easy decision for Manfred, even after consulting with officials in the city of Baltimore, and with the three franchises involved. However, this was the decision that had to be made.
The White Sox don’t make another trip to Baltimore, and rescheduling an entire three-game series would be impossible, but they found a way to fit a doubleheader in the schedule (The Orioles will already be home, as they’ll be in the middle of a homestand, while the White Sox will have to stop on a scheduled off-day in between a series in Toronto and a series in Houston).
Nobody wants to play a game with no fans. Financially it hurts the home team, and it created a weird environment for watching the game on TV, and I’m sure the same goes for the players involved. Still, had they allowed people to be at this game, they would’ve created a mass-gathering of people, and an easy target for more protests.
As for the three “home” games in Tampa, this has an even further financial effect on the Orioles, but it gets those three games out of town, and the Orioles aren’t scheduled for another home game until May 11th.
While it’s a tough draw for the Orioles, who have now lost three home games, and played one home game without their crowd behind them, baseball isn’t important here.
Manfred was put in a tough spot and did the best thing for the safety of the people of Baltimore, the Orioles, the White Sox, and the Rays.
I personally thought that the new commissioner was already off to a good start with the “pace-of-play” rules, but in his first big test, he did what was best for a team, and, more importantly, a city..