BALTIMORE – As the Orioles prepared to play before their home fans for the first time in two weeks, the sights and sounds around Camden Yards on a lovely Monday afternoon were all about baseball.
There were no helicopters soaring overhead. No angry people throwing bottles. No rows of police in riot gear.
Vendors were hawking food, drinks and clothing. A few people were camped out near the home team parking lot, seeking autographs. About a half-dozen were looking to buy tickets at a window behind the center-field wall.
"I think it'll be a nice atmosphere tonight with all that's been going on," said Steve Presgraves, wearing an Orioles jersey and standing near the ticket booth. "It's definitely good for the city, and I think it's going to be, just a good time, a nice crowd and everything."
The city had been overrun by violence on April 27 after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died while in the custody of Baltimore police. Then, in an unprecedented move after two postponements, the Orioles hosted the Chicago White Sox on April 29 without allowing fans to enter. They then played three relocated "home" games against the Rays in Florida.
The Orioles hoped hosting a baseball game — one they won 5-2 over Toronto, behind first-inning homers by Manny Machado and Chris Davis — might have a positive effect on the city.
"If anything, the fact that we can come home and play again and have our fans here, maybe that will get some people's focus off what was going on out there," Orioles reliever Zach Britton said. "Just enjoy baseball again."