Josh Michael: Why not spend July 4 watching Baysox or Shorebirds?

A very happy Independence Day to everyone out there as we celebrate this great country that we live in! If you do not already have plans for this evening and want to see some fantastic fireworks and great baseball, there are two Orioles minor league affiliates that have you covered.

While the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, high Single-A Frederick Keys and short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds are on the road, the Double-A Bowie Baysox and low Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds are at home this Independence Day and have some terrific plans for their respective Fourth of July celebrations tonight.

The Baysox will be hosting the Harrisburg Senators at Prince George's Stadium tonight with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm. As you would guess, the Baysox will be having a huge postgame fireworks spectacular, presented by Johns Hopkins Community Physicians. In addition, there are also Luxury Suite Tickets and July 4 BBQ options available as well if you really want to live it up.

On the field, the Baysox have right-handed pitcher Christian Binford listed as the scheduled starter. His numbers are not quite where he would like them to be, but he will enter the game with a 1-2 record and a 4.09 ERA over 33 innings this season. Fans will have the opportunity to see the back-to-back Orioles Minor League Player of the Month in outfielder Ryan McKenna. After dominating the Carolina League with the Keys earlier this year, McKenna, still just 21, is beginning to look comfortable at the plate for the Baysox.

If you happen to be in or near the Ocean City, Md., area for July 4, and perhaps don't want to be near the Boardwalk or want to see some baseball, the Shorebirds will also be having their biggest Q105 fireworks show after the game. The Shorebirds will be hosting Hagerstown at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium with first pitch set for 6:05 pm.

In addition to the fireworks show, the Shorebirds will also be wearing specialty patriotic jerseys that will be auctioned off during the game on the second level concourse. The proceeds from the patriotic jerseys benefit the Department of Maryland VFW Military Assistance Programs. It's always a good thing to help our military veterans.

On the field, the Shorebirds have not officially listed a starter, but you are pretty much guaranteed you are going to see a quality arm take the bump with the stout pitching staff Delmarva has exhibited this season. At the plate, fans will get to see a trio of prospects that I have been keeping a close eye on and are fun to watch in outfielder Zach Jarrett, third baseman Trevor Craport and second baseman Kirvin Moesquit. Both Jarrett and Craport are among the Orioles' minor league leaders in home runs and RBIs, while Moesquit leads all O's minor leaguers in stolen bases.

You might already have plans for this evening, but if you don't, or they got cancelled, why not head over to an O's affiliate to watch some good baseball and phenomenal fireworks displays?

Josh Michael blogs about the Orioles for Baby Birdland. Follow him on Twitter: @BabyBirdland. His opinions on the Orioles will appear here as part of's longstanding initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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