O's swap bats for clubs in annual Birdland Golf Classic

The Orioles traded their bats for golf clubs Monday afternoon, taking aim at a decidedly smaller ball for a good cause in the sixth annual Birdland Golf Classic at The Founders Club in Sarasota.

The event benefited the Miracle League of Manasota, an organization dedicated to providing the opportunity for everyone to play baseball, regardless of ability. Manager Buck Showalter and current Orioles Brad Brach, Chris Davis, Ryan Flaherty, Kevin Gausman, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Darren O'Day and Matt Wieters were among those participating.

Since its inception, the Birdland Golf Classic has raised more than $150,000 for the Miracle League of Manasota. As a nonprofit organization, the Miracle League of Manasota relies on community support to fulfill its mission of bringing baseball to the 14,000 school-aged children with disabilities and their adult counterparts in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

In 2012, the Miracle League of Manasota built a synthetically surfaced baseball field with all the requisite amenities located at Longwood Park, north of University Parkway in Sarasota. Sarasota County committed $500,000 to building the field, with the Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates each contributing $75,000. Since opening in March 2012, more than 450 players have participated in the league's eight seasons.

The last week before Grapefruit League games begin will be a busy one for the Orioles off the field in Sarasota, with a full slate of community activities planned, including:

* Brach and Mike Wright will visit Sarasota Middle School on Friday to wrap up the six-week Orioles Health & Fitness Challenge. The program, launched in January, teaches students about the importance of healthy eating, physical fitness and tobacco-free living. Students who complete the program will receive two tickets to an Orioles spring training game and a complimentary healthy snack at the new Orioles Fit Grill, a healthy food stand at Ed Smith Stadium.

* Former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will host a special Valentine's Day-themed event on Wednesday at the Child Protection Center in Sarasota. Wieters will also participate at the event. The Child Protection Center is focused on prevention, intervention and treatment of child abuse.

* Thursday brings the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce's spring training welcome reception for the Orioles, marking the team's seventh spring training at Ed Smith Stadium. The event takes place at the The Francis at Louie's Modern. Among those representing the Orioles will be executive vice president John Angelos, ownership representative Louis Angelos, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, Showalter and select players.

Check out the videos below for more from the Birdland Golf Classic.

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