Washington (CNN)Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday would be "another sad day in our city" when the Orioles play the White Sox in an empty Camden Yards in the afternoon.
Mayor: Orioles game without fans is 'another sad day' in Baltimore
"We're a sports town. We love our O's," Rawlings-Blake told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, saying she never could have predicted a spectator-less game would be played in the historic 46,000 seat stadium. It is believed to be the first closed-door contest in Major League Baseball history.
The Baltimore Democrat, trying to quell surging protests after the death of a 25-year-old black man while in police custody, said she "absolutely" had to make major changes to the city's police department. Riots escalated Monday night as some agitators looted stories, stomped on police cars and tossed projectiles as what were once peaceful protests turned ugly.
"I'm not blind to the fact that we have to do a better job with our relationships between the community and police," said Rawlings-Blake.
The mayor is well-versed on tensions between communities and police, having served on a panel following protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white policeman shot an unarmed black man. The national U.S. Conference of Mayors committee studied how to prevent future race-related violence after allegations of police brutality.
"This is something I've worked on for years," Rawlings-Blake said.
The Charm City mayor declined to criticize Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has moved Maryland's operation from Annapolis, the state capital, to Baltimore, after hearing reports that local police were overwhelmed.
Rawlings-Blake did not say whether he was encroaching on her authority.
"I'm not going to politicize this. We want those resources here," she said. "I'm not going to let this turn into a political football."