Chicago White Sox

The No Fans Game

(Baltimore) 2015 has been a memorable year for me, especially the month of April, even more so this past week. I wrote about the turmoil that happened on April 25th, which I had to witness via Television. Monday, April 27th, I took a break from all sports and focused on helping create a better image of our city after one of our worst moments. 

The MLB was forced to postpone the Orioles game with the White Sox. A game in which I acquired media credentials, my first professional game as a media member. A game that was slated to be a regular O's  vs. Sox game, turned out to be a once in a lifetime moment. 

I can tell my grand kids I attended a game where there were ZERO fans in attendance, and honestly, it may have been the best game I ever experienced. Media members who were over the age 50 were marveled by the historical moment, still being able to witness something they have never seen before despite years of experience.

Prior to the game, I didn't know what to expect, which made me feel very indifferent. Fan's bring excitement to the game and  help generate momentum. I thought it would be a drag to watch a "lifeless" game  but once the first pitch was thrown, it turned out to be one of the best moments of my life. 

In the 1st inning, the O's got off to a fast start. Ubaldo Jimenez sat down the first three batters to open the game, striking out both Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu. Ubaldo had himself a good day, going 7 innings, only allowing 3 hits and 2 earned runs. I would say Ubaldo set the tone for the team and killed my curiosity about how the momentum would build. Fans outside the gate helped also. 

The game was pretty much over after the first inning. The entire Orioles' lineup got the opportunity to face White Sox's starter, Jeff Samardzija, who had a very rough day in a quiet stadium. Samardzija went 5 innings, giving up 7 earned runs, 6 of which came in the 1st.

Chris Davis hit a 3-run bomb onto to Eutaw Street, giving the O's an early 6-0 lead. 

Manny Machado also hit a home run in the 4th inning, jogging the bases in an empty stadium. It was a surreal feeling being a part of history. Oriole fans showed much support cheering from outside of the stadium, making sure you heard them loud and clear. 

Sitting in a pressbox with some well respected baseball writers was a great experience. Being from Baltimore,  it was an honor to be one of few that was able to witness "The No Fan Game" from inside the gates. (Kendall Hilton/Fan-i Sports) 

Sitting in a pressbox with some well respected baseball writers was a great experience. Being from Baltimore,  it was an honor to be one of few that was able to witness "The No Fan Game" from inside the gates. (Kendall Hilton/Fan-i Sports) 

As the game went on, I started to fall in love with the beauty of the game. No fans meant no show. I was blessed with the opportunity to watch baseball at it's purest form. You could hear the players call out fly balls in the outfield. Without the fans, there were no distractions from the game. You had to sit and actually watch the ballgame, which for me, was very refreshing and ironic, being that our brand is based solely on being a fan. 

The game only took 2 hours and 3 minutes to complete. An average MLB game is at least 3 hours in duration, but things seemed to have went quickly with no one in attendance. 

At the 1:51 mark, you'll hear me ask O's manager, Buck Showalter, a question that has made a few headlines across the country. I would like to thank Buck for answering my question and giving me an honest and genuine answer. 

Baltimore is going through a crisis right now which is the reason why this historical game happened. People seem to be uncomfortable talking about why the game was fanless. I noticed a lot of the media coverage for this game choose not to speak on what was going on outside of the stadium. I understand why one would want to speak only on Baseball but when you have historical moments, you have to examine the good, the bad, and the ugly of the situation. I'm not telling other media outlets to speak on the crisis in Baltimore but I will assure you that Fan-I Sports will bring that conversation to the public. 

O's vs White Sox Preview

The Orioles and White Sox are coming into this series needing a string of wins to get over the .500 hump. The Orioles are currently 9-10 while the White Sox are 8-9, both riding a 2-game win streak. 

The O's are coming off a series win over division foe, Boston Red Sox. Friday Night, the Red Sox defeated the O's 7-5 thanks to an 8th inning three-run homer by Brock Holt off a Darren O'Day fastball that sat right over the plate. 

The O's would come back Saturday night with some late game magic of their own, David Lough hitting a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to give the O's a 5-4 victory, also ending their 5-game losing streak.

Unfortunately, Saturday's victory was overshadowed by chaos on the outside of the stadium .

Sunday, the O's just blew the doors off the Red Sox, driving in 18 runs off 20 hits, most points they've scored since 2000. Everyone in the lineup for the Orioles contributed in some type of way, whether it was a hit, walk, or run. The Red Sox would score 7 runs, all coming in the last 3 innings. Bud Norris also notched his first victory with his performance, pitching for 6 2/3 innings and allowing 3 earned runs. 

The White Sox are coming off a series win against their division foe, the Kansas City Royals. Thursday night both teams got into a scuffle, which led to 7 players being suspended, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija both receiving 5 game suspensions and will likely miss this series against the Orioles pending their appeals.

White Sox took 2 out 3 against the Royals, all three games being decided by less than 2 runs. In a 3-2 victory from a suspended game on Friday that was resumed on Sunday, Avisail Garcia drove in the winning run with his RBI single in the 9th inning. Sunday's official game ended with a 5-3 result for the White Sox, all 5 of their runs coming in the 6th inning. 

Ubaldo Jimenez will start for the Orioles while Hector Noesi will start for the White Sox in the opening game of the series.

Noesi is 0-2 in 2 starts this season. He has allowed 6 earned runs in 10 innings of work. Some Orioles has had success against Noesi, most notably Adam Jones and Alejandro De Aza. Both De Aza and Jones have a +.600 batting average against Noesi, combing for 18 at-bats, 6 RBIs, and 11 hits. He also has a 1-4 record against the O's in 9 games (4 starts), allowing 17 earned runs. His last start came against the Indians on April 21st, which resulted in a loss after he allowed 4 hits and 4 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. 

Jimenz is looking for his 2nd victory of the season. So far this season, he has an ERA of 2.30 and has only allowed 4 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings. Jimenez isn't no stranger to the Sox, playing 3 seasons with the Indians in the AL Central but he hasn't had great success. 2-3 in 10 starts against the White Sox with 33 earned runs in 59 1/3 innings. 

In order for the O's to extend their two-game win streak, they must strap down on their pitching. The Orioles have the highest ERA in the league right now, 5.04, which is not championship caliber baseball. Last year the O's went 5-1 against the Sox, outscoring the Sox 27-16. 

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