BALTIMORE, Md– Tens of thousands of fans made their way to Camden Yards to celebrate the Orioles’ first home game in front of a crowd since the riots. They took on the Toronto Blue Jays, but fans were also there to celebrate Baltimore.
Some worried that the day of looting and violence would turn visitors away from the city. But they came from all over the region, including central PA.
“I’m not afraid of what’s going on, things need to change,” says Larry Hegedus, of Newberry Township, York County. “I love the city, it needs to come back.”
Mark Deebel of Hummelstown, Dauphin County was at the April 26th game, the last open home game. Baltimore Police asked fans not to leave because of a tense Freddie Gray protest going on outside.
“It was pretty crazy and when you left here, they weren’t allowing anyone on the Beltway, on the interstate, they had them all blocked off,” says Deebel.
But fans called this game ReOpening Day, and they said the team’s return is a symbol of the city ‘s recovery.
"It really makes me happy that people still feel safe to come out here and just have a good time, because we've been through a lot and these businesses took big hits," says Myles Daniels of Baltimore.
Sam Angell helped coordinate the ReOpening Day movement with the local bars. After watching his team play in an empty ballpark, he looked up the next home game.
"I saw it was against the Blue Jays, which is the same thing we play on opening day and I just thought let's make this a second opening day, let's get people the same enthusiasm, the same optimism they bring on a normal opening day," says Angell.
Baltimore Police officers at the game also got a lot of greetings from fans.
"It's really important for the city to come together and be one unified city," says Daniels.