CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The starting pitcher felt as if he were playing in a cemetery. It was so eerily quiet he could hear the beer and peanut vendors in the stands.
"I understood what was going on but you know a couple of guys said, 'We're professional athletes, it kind of stinks not to have fans there the whole time cheering you on,"' Riverdogs pitcher John Vigue said. "In a way you feed off the energy of the crowd. Even though sometimes they get on you, it's all part of the game."
The Charleston Riverdogs lost 4-2 to the Columbus RedStixx on Monday night as the Class A Tampa Bay Devil Rays affiliate padlocked the gates and kept hundreds of fans outside Joe Riley Stadium.
This was "Nobody Night" -- a promotion designed to set the record for professional baseball's lowest attendance.
Only media, scouts and employees were allowed into the game. Fans were turned away and sent just outside the ballpark to a party offering discounted food and beer.
But that got old. About 1,800 fans were allowed in once the game was declared official after the fifth inning, although the actual attendance was recorded as zero.
Season ticket-holders and those attending the party will be counted in ticket sales, which are sent to the league office at the end of the month.
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