The Orioles have announced plans for the first game of their 2013 spring training season and their fourth season in Sarasota. The team will face the Minnesota Twins at Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow, Saturday, February 23, at 1:05 p.m.
Tomorrow and throughout the season, ballpark gates will open two hours prior to the scheduled first pitch. All fans attending tomorrow’s opener will receive a 2013 spring training magnet schedule presented by the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the first 1,000 female fans in attendance will receive a Bird of Paradise flower courtesy of Beneva Flowers.
The Orioles lost a beloved member of their family in January when Hall of Fame Manager Earl Weaver passed away. The greatest manager in Orioles history, Weaver compiled 1,480 wins and a .583 winning percentage over 17 seasons as the team’s skipper from 1968-82 and 1985-86. A minor league second baseman for 13 years, mostly in his hometown St. Louis Cardinals organization, the “Earl of Baltimore” began his managing career in the minors in 1956 and joined the Orioles organization a year later. He came up to the Orioles as first base coach in 1968 and was named manager on July 11 of that year. From 1969 through 1982, he won six AL East titles, four AL pennants and one World Series, beating the Cincinnati Reds in 1970. Earl’s Orioles won at least 100 games five times, and he earned Manager of the Year honors three times.
He retired following the 1982 season, which ended one game shy of another AL East title when the Orioles lost to the Milwaukee Brewers on the final day of the season. He came back to manage in the middle of the 1985 season for 1 Â½ years before retiring for good.
Living in Florida after his retirement, Earl was a frequent visitor to Orioles’ spring training and Dream Week. He also made regular visits to Baltimore, including multiple trips with his wife Marianna for the Orioles Legends Celebration Series in 2012. Earl’s sculpture was unveiled in the bullpen picnic grove at Oriole Park on June 30, 2012.
The Orioles will honor Earl prior to tomorrow’s game in a pre-game moment of silence and video tribute. In addition, Earl’s uniform number 4 will be stenciled onto the grass outside of the Orioles dugout in foul territory. An orange patch depicting the number 4 and the words “Earl Weaver” and “Hall of Fame” in black will also be worn on the home, road and two alternate in-game jerseys beginning tomorrow and throughout the entire 2013 season. An image of this patch is attached to this release.
The National Anthem will be performed by tenor Heath Huberg. Huberg is currently singing the role of Nadir in Sarasota Opera’s 2013 production of The Pearl Fishers.
Ben Millice, representing Southwest Airlines, the Official Airline of the Orioles, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.
The Orioles have one of the most liberal food policies in professional sports. Outside food and beverages may be brought into Ed Smith Stadium, subject to the following guidelines:
Soft-sided and paper bags are permitted at Ed Smith Stadium, as long as they fit into a 16” x 16” x 8” container. Hard-sided coolers, thermoses, glass bottles, cans or alcoholic beverages are not permitted into the ballpark.
Non-alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles are permitted into the park. All items will be checked at the gates and any beverage which has been opened or partially consumed prior to entry is subject to confiscation if it is thought to contain alcohol. In addition, no plastic or paper cups of beverages are permitted into the park at the entry gates.
All items permitted into the ballpark will be inspected. No bags or items exceeding the maximum size of 16” x 16” x 8” are allowed into the ballpark.
No containers or unauthorized items can be left at any park entrance.
No re-entry will be permitted once a fan has entered the ballpark gates.
Vehicles dropping off or picking up guests with special needs or disabilities are permitted to utilize the East Lot for this purpose. No vehicles are permitted to park curbside, nor are people able to stand and wait with vehicles.