The Orioles have announced plans for the first game of their 2014 spring training season and their fifth season in Sarasota. The team will face the Toronto Blue Jays at Ed Smith Stadium this Saturday, March 1, at 1:05 p.m. and host Military Appreciation Day. Pre-game ceremonies will air live on television in the Sarasota area on SNN6 beginning at 12:30 p.m.
All fans in attendance will receive a 2014 spring training schedule magnet, courtesy of Visit Sarasota County. The first 1,000 female fans in attendance will also receive a bird of paradise flower, courtesy of Beneva Flowers.
Tomorrow and throughout the season, ballpark gates will open two hours prior to the scheduled first pitch. Season plan holders will be able to access the ballpark 15 minutes early through a dedicated entrance at the Home Plate Gate for all 15 home games, including Opening Day.
LEGACY OF VALOR TRIBUTE TO OUR VETERANS
Military Appreciation Day, featuring the Legacy of Valor Tribute to our Veterans ceremony, will take place on Saturday to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of our military with a special pre-game ceremony.
The Patterson Foundation is fully funding the design and construction of Patriot Plaza, a 2,800-seat amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery, which will be dedicated on June 28. The Orioles are one of more than 100 community partners in the Patterson Foundation's Legacy of Valor campaign which is dedicated to using time, talent and treasure to recognize the service and sacrifice of all our active military and veterans.
The Sarasota Military Academy Drum Line will be on the field for pre-game ceremonies, along with representatives from each of the US Military services and a representative of Canada's military. Each will be accompanied by two girl scouts from Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida, who are also a partner of the Legacy of Valor campaign to honor veterans, inspire patriotism and pass freedom on to others.
Here is the list of representatives being honored from each military branch:
* Sergeant Randall Moore (U.S. Army); active duty with over nine years of service, including deployments to Iraq and the Philippines, currently serving as a U.S. Army recruiter.
* Master Sergeant Edward Valdez (U.S. Marine Corps); served 20 years with distinguished service as a career recruiter and deployments to Somalia and Kenya.
* Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Turner (U.S. Navy); served 30 years with distinguished service as a Maintenance Material Control Officer with multiple deployments, including Afghanistan where he supported both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
* Staff Sergeant C.J. Bannister (U.S. Air Force); served eight years with distinguished service as a crew chief on A-10 Aircraft and also as a paralegal for the Judge Advocate General.
* Boatswain's Mate Two Kyle Gaub (U.S. Coast Guard); active duty with seven years of service and currently working search and rescue serving at Coast Guard Station Cortez in Bradenton, Florida.
* Colonel Paul Keddy (Canadian military); Commander of Canadian Coalition Forces with Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
The National Anthem will be performed by Veronica Brandon Miller, Vice President of Goodwill Manasota, whose American Veterans and Their Families initiative helps veterans and their families find jobs in the Sarasota community every day.
Specialist Fifth Class Andy Hooker will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. Specialist Hooker is President of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, a Vietnam Combat Veteran and proud member of Alpha Company Vietnam brotherhood.
OPENING DAY TIMING (GATES OPEN AT 11:05 a.m.; 10:50 a.m. for season plan holders)
10:20-11:20 - Orioles Batting Practice
11:20-12:20 - Blue Jays Batting Practice
1:05 - Play Ball!