CHICAGO -- Despite inconveniences to the Chicago White Sox, both this week and later this season, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred had no issue with how things were handled when disrupted games were rescheduled in Baltimore.
Because of civil unrest that began Monday afternoon with rioting and looting in the city of Baltimore, the White Sox and Orioles did not play scheduled games on Monday or Tuesday. They played the lone game of the three-game series on Wednesday afternoon instead of Wednesday night, but with no fans in the stands.
In addition, the White Sox will now have to play a doubleheader at Baltimore on May 28, in the middle of what already was a hectic trip.
"Look, we considered a variety of possibilities," Manfred said. "We thought it was really important in terms of the integrity of the schedule to get one more game played in Baltimore. When you have an out-of-division opponent and it’s once to Baltimore, once to Chicago, getting one of those games out of the way is a big deal. Obviously we made a huge compromise -- that is having no fans in the ballpark in order to do that."
The obvious question is why games weren’t moved to nearby National League ballparks in Washington D.C. or Philadelphia. Both occupants of those parks were on the road at the time the White Sox were playing in Baltimore.
"It was explored," Manfred said. "The idea of opening somebody else’s ballpark for one game with no tickets sold was not appealing for anybody, not to either team."
What Manfred didn’t address is why the parks were not open to paying customers. And why there was a wait until Tuesday afternoon to postpone that night’s game since a 10 p.m. Tuesday curfew was announced one day earlier.
The two postponed games will now be made up May 28 at Baltimore as part of a traditional doubleheader. But that means the White Sox have a four-city road trip through two different countries with 11 games over 11 days at that time.
The trip starts May 25 at Toronto and after three games in Canada, the White Sox go to Baltimore for the May 28 twinbill. They then open a three-game series at Houston on May 29, have an off day in Texas on June 1, then open a three-game series against the Rangers on June 2.
Though the Orioles had every right to schedule the makeup dates on their own and tap into whatever White Sox off day they wished, it appeared the White Sox would get more of a say-so in the process than they did.
The Orioles’ announcement on the doubleheader makeup date, as well as the decision to play Wednesday's game in front of no fans, appeared to come well ahead of when the White Sox had expected it.
To the White Sox’s credit, they have not complained publicly about the process.
"Everyone put up a couple different alternative ideas out there, and ultimately the Orioles have the primary say in it along with MLB, and they’re working in conjunction with state and local authorities," White Sox GM Rick Hahn said Tuesday after the Orioles had announced their rescheduling plan. "We tried to make it clear from the start: We’ll do what everyone feels is in the best interest of everyone’s safety and getting the games played in the best environment that we can under the circumstances."
As for that May 28 off day for the White Sox that will be absorbed by not just one game, but two, it’s simply an obstacle the White Sox will have to figure out how to overcome.
"It’s no different than a rainout," Manfred said. "Look, the reality of the situation is this: We had a crisis in Baltimore and we had to do the very best we could with less-than-ideal circumstances to get the game played in a way that doesn’t disrupt the competition, and we think we did that."