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The baseball team that deliberately locked their fans out of a game

The Charleston RiverDogs’ stunt in 2002 continued a family tradition of baseball innovation, but empty ballparks will not be a novelty much longer

On a hot July evening in Charleston, South Carolina, almost 2,000 baseball fans made their way to Joseph P Riley Jr Park, a pleasant if somewhat clumsily-named ball park on a bend in the Ashley river. Their local minor league team, the RiverDogs, were playing against the Columbus RedStixx. But on a beautiful night for baseball in 2002, the stadium gates were padlocked.

Not that the fans had expected any different. This was “Nobody Night”, a bid to set an unbeatable world record for baseball’s lowest attendance. Fans happily reconvened at a nearby tailgate party, stocked with discounted beer and snacks. Some brought deckchairs and peered through gaps in the gates. “We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have truly terrible seats,” one local told the Associated Press.

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