Nearly 150 Sarasota-area youth will have the opportunity to receive professional instruction from current and former Orioles players at a series of baseball clinics the club will host during the coming weeks. Through OriolesREACH, the team will host children from the Central Sarasota County Little League and Cal Ripken Baseball League at the Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex on Saturday, February 4. The Orioles will then travel to the Miracle League Field for a clinic with members of the Miracle League of Manasota on Saturday, February 25. The club then plays host to youth from the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Clubs at the Ed Smith Stadium main field on Saturday, March 10. An additional, free public clinic is planned for April, with details to come. All participating children will also receive giveaway items and player autographs at the clinics.
"Providing major league coaching to area youth through baseball clinics is one of our favorite ways to give back to the community," said Laura Williams, Orioles Director of Florida Operations. "When you see the children interacting with big leaguers, learning baseball skills and seeing the professionalism of our players, you understand the impact the Orioles have with our young people."
Former Orioles Mike Devereaux, Dave Ford and Jeff Tackett, along with Orioles Hall of Fame catcher Chris Hoiles, will instruct over 80 youth from the Central Sarasota County Little League and Cal Ripken Baseball League in pitching, hitting, fielding, throwing and baserunning on February 4. The clinic will be held from 10:00 a.m. - noon at the Orioles' minor league facility, the Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park, located at 6700 Clark Road. The Oriole Bird will also appear at the clinic, and the Orioles will provide all participants with a complimentary lunch following the event.
Current and former Orioles, including right-handed pitcher Jim Johnson, former infielder Mike Bordick and Hoiles, will conduct a clinic for over 25 members of the Miracle League of Manasota on February 25. The clinic is part of a field dedication celebration of the Miracle League Field and will begin at 2:30 p.m., immediately following the dedication ceremony. The Oriole Bird will also participate in the event and refreshments will be served to the kids. The Miracle League Field is located at Longwood Park, 6050 Longwood Run Boulevard.
On March 10, right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, Bordick, Hoiles and other Orioles players will welcome 40 children from the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club for a clinic on the main field at Ed Smith Stadium, located at 2700 12th Street. The clinic will begin at 1:00 p.m. and include instruction in pitching, hitting, fielding, throwing and baserunning. The Oriole Bird will also be present and refreshments will be provided.
Following Spring Training, the club will host a free youth clinic open to the public, hosted by several of the team's minor league players. Details regarding the date, time, location and application process will be announced soon.
Since the Orioles arrived in Sarasota County in late 2009, the Orioles and OriolesREACH have interacted with thousands of Sarasota-area fans through baseball clinics, appearances, food drives, cash gifts to nonprofits, and donations of memorabilia and playing field usage.
"We're excited about all of the activities we have planned for the 2012 spring training season and beyond," Williams said. "The Orioles are strongly committed to continuing the partnership with the community that we started at the end of 2009 when we first moved to Sarasota County. The community has warmly embraced us, and we feel a tremendous kinship with the residents and visitors, alike."