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OpinionColumnistsLane Filler

Wrong move closing Baltimore Orioles game to the public

An empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards is

An empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards is shown after the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox was postponed on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Md. Credit: Greg Fiume

The decision to close today's Orioles game in Baltimore to the public just doesn't feel right.
The team postponed the games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday night and moved today's game against the Chicago White Sox up from 7:05 p.m. to 2:05 p.m. And it has announced that its Friday, Saturday and Sunday games, scheduled for Camden Yards, will instead be played at the home field of what should have been the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, in Florida.
No one can deny things are not good in Blatimore right now, with protests and riots following the death and funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after his spine was severed while in police custody. His death has sparked questions and outrage related not just to this case but to the treatment of minorities by Baltimore cops in general.
In response to the unrest, Baltimore is under a weeklong curfew that began Tuesday night to try to restore peace.
But banning the public from the baseball game and stadium gives off the vibe that Baltimore authorities cannot assert control, and that Baltimore residents can't be trusted to behave peacefully. It's the exact wrong call. Better to have elected officials and community leaders come out to the game and ask residents to do so, too. Better to have the necessary police presence to guarantee safety  and have people come together to enjoy something the community shares: the beloved O’s.
The unrest in Baltimore is a huge story, but it's not the entire story of Baltimore. It's a vibrant, much-loved city with its share of woes. But letting those woes dictate too much is a bad idea. It sends the message that the city, rather than assuring us that it can overcome its problems, has been completely overcome by them.