BALTIMORE, Md. (WWBT)- In any given year, even Major League Baseball exhibition games would attract a fair number of fans, especially when it features two beltway rivals, but Monday's tilt between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles gave us a window into what will be a bizarre 2020 season for players and fans.
As far as fans go, whether one is a die-hard or a casual spectator, there's nothing like attending a Major League contest.
"The scenery. Hearing all the cheers," replied Taylor Klein when asked about her favorite part of attending a game.
"Definitely the tailgates before and hanging out with everyone," answered Kristen Kreimer.
Taylor and Kristen know Oriole Park at Camden Yards well. They walk by the venue every day going to and from work at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Neither memorizes the Orioles’ schedule, but it’s usually not hard to figure out when it’s game night.
"Everyone's out, there's the vendors, there's people, everyone's wearing orange," noted Kristen. "We would definitely know."
"There's usually a lot of people, especially out at Pickles [Pub] and a lot of hubbub going on," Taylor added.
This year, however, things look different. Streets around the ballpark were empty prior to and during Monday's game. Ticket booths were empty, gates were locked, and crowds were absent. Eutaw Street is an area that's usually packed with fan traffic, but it rested in silence.
"We usually aren't able to park in our lot when there's a game, so that part has been nice, but it's weird not seeing everyone else out on the street," said Taylor.
"It's a little bit eerie," Kristen noted.
Inside the stadium, things were anything but typical as well. Tens of thousands of seats sat empty on Monday night. Tents were set up near both dugouts to allow for more space, and the usual game-day fanfare was reduced. Walk-up music was still played, as was the national anthem, and crowd noise was pumped in during certain situations. While the players are missing some of the experience, so too is the usual crowd.
"It's a really weird feeling I think," said Taylor of not being able to go to a game. "It's kind of surreal that it isn't happening."
There's no question it will make for a strange 2020 season, but eventually, the gates will open once again, and some baseball favorites will return.
"Feeling normal again and enjoying what Baltimore has here again," Kristen said of what she's looking forward to. "Kind of just miss hanging out with my friends and family and stuff going to games."
"Medical professionals especially have taken a hard hit," noted Taylor. "Those things, those outlets that we typically go to haven't been available, so getting back to some type of normalcy will be nice."
Washington and Baltimore will play each other again on Tuesday, that game at Nationals Park. While the Orioles will travel to Boston to get going on Friday, the Nats open up their season on Thursday, hosting the Yankees, where Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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