Sarasota Springfest lets fans experience baseball at another level

Fans of all ages can fully immerse themselves in the spring training experience a week from Saturday at Sarasota Springfest at Ed Smith Stadium.

The chance to see pitchers and catchers going through their workouts in the sunshine in February has always drawn fans, but from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, they can do more than watch. The day will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Orioles’ spring training home, and the opportunity to have a catch on the field, take part in a “Pitch for Charity” event and grill Cedric Mullins with the help of MASNSports.com beat writer Roch Kubatko, who will moderate a question-and-answer session with the up-and-coming star.

Activities at Sarasota Springfest are free of charge.

“We encourage parents, children and fans of all ages to have fun on the same field used by the Orioles during spring training games,” said Greg Bader, the Orioles’ vice president for communications and marketing. “Being able to play catch on a major league ballfield is a rare experience for fans, and we’re excited to provide that opportunity again this year.”

Field conditions permitting, two sessions of “Have A Catch” will be offered on the main field, at approximately 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Access is first-come, first-served, and participants must bring their own gloves and sign a liability waiver.

Orioles event staff will provide stadium tours every 20 minutes, beginning at 10 a.m. Fans will see areas not usually open to the public, including the press box, World Series Suites, Home Plate Suite, Third Base Lounge and the visiting team’s clubhouse.

“Pitch for Charity” is scheduled for approximately noon at the Left Field Pavilion. Fans may purchase balls, ranging in price from $3-$10, at the event entrance and test their skill by pitching from the pavilion into a target on the main field. All proceeds support Miracle League of Manasota, an organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for every person to play baseball, regardless of their ability. Fans can also earn Orioles-themed prizes, based on their pitching accuracy.

Mullins’ Q&A starts around 12:30 p.m.

Additional games will be set up to test fans’ skills at baseball and a variety of sports. Activities will also include corn hole, giant Connect Four, face painting, and free souvenir photos provided by TapSnap.

Food options for sale will include Jimmy’s Famous Seafood crab cakes, as well as menu selections from Culver’s and Chick-fil-A. Fans can enter Springfest through the left field gate, next to the east lot off 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue, where free parking will be provided. Guests younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Spring Training.jpgFans can watch Orioles workouts on the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium complex each day from Feb. 13 through Feb. 22 from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The first full-squad workout will be held on Monday, Feb. 18. There is no charge to attend, and parking in the east lot is free.

The Orioles will play their first of 17 home spring training games in 2019 at the stadium on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 1:05 p.m. against the Minnesota Twins. Spring training game tickets, as well as Orioles merchandise, will be available for purchase during Springfest. Fans can also get them at Orioles.com/Spring. Individual game tickets can be purchased by phone by calling 800-745-3000. Season, five-game flex plans, group tickets, suites and other specialty areas are available by calling 941-893-6312.

Individual game tickets can be purchased in person at Ed Smith Stadium in the left field ticket office, located at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue. The box office will be open through Feb. 8 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. From Feb. 11 to March 24, the box office will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Parking is available in the east lot.

Springfest is part of Sarasota 365, a host of initiatives through which the Baltimore Orioles and OriolesREACH demonstrate the ballclub’s year-round engagement with the Greater Sarasota community. For more information, visit Orioles.com/Sarasota.

For more information on Sarasota Springfest, go to Orioles.com/Springfest.

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