Orioles announce 2016 spring training opening day plans

The Orioles have announced plans for opening day of the 2016 spring training season on Wednesday, March 2, when the Orioles host the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium. All fans in attendance will receive a 2016 spring training schedule magnet, courtesy of Visit Sarasota County. Additionally, the first 1,000 female fans in attendance will receive a bird of paradise flower, courtesy of Beneva Flowers.

WWSB ABC7 anchor and managing editor Alan Cohn will throw out the ceremonial first pitch while anchor of "Good Morning Suncoast" Rebecca Vargas will perform the national anthem. The Sarasota Military Academy Cadet Color Guard will present the colors and Robin Fernandez will perform "God Bless America" prior to the seventh-inning stretch.

During pre-game ceremonies, each club's manager and starters will be introduced and recognized along the first- and third-base foul lines. Reserve players and uniformed personnel will join the starters along both foul lines.

Additionally, head groundskeeper of Florida operations Dan Thomas and his crew will accept the 2015 "Field of the Year" award for professional baseball, presented by the Sports Turf Managers Association. Central Florida's STMA president Dale Croft and Central Florida's STMA secretary and treasurer Rob Julian will present Thomas and his crew with the award. STMA's "Field of the Year" award, considered the highest honor in the industry, is awarded annually to various sporting grounds members at the professional, collegiate, schools, and parks and recreation levels.

On Wednesday 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 16 home games, including opening day.

OPENING DAY TIMING (GATES OPEN AT 11:05 a.m.; 10:50 a.m. for season plan holders)

10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Orioles batting practice

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Braves batting practice

1:05 p.m.

Play ball!

Tickets for the Orioles spring training home opener are still available and can be purchased at the ticket box office at Ed Smith Stadium from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., online at www.orioles.com/spring or by phone at 877-222-2802.


The Orioles have one of the most fan-friendly food policies in professional sports. Outside food and beverages may be brought into Ed Smith Stadium, subject to the following guidelines:

* Soft-sided and paper bags are permitted at Ed Smith Stadium, as long as they fit into a 16" x 16" x 8" container. Hard-sided coolers, thermoses, glass bottles, cans or alcoholic beverages are not permitted into the ballpark.

* Non-alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles are permitted into the park. All items will be checked at the gates and any beverage that has been opened or partially consumed prior to entry is subject to confiscation if it is thought to contain alcohol. Additionally, no plastic or paper cups of beverages are permitted into the park at the entry gates.

* All items permitted into the ballpark will be inspected. No bags or items exceeding the maximum size of 16" x 16" x 8" are allowed into the ballpark.

* No containers or unauthorized items can be left at any park entrance.

No re-entry will be permitted once a fan has entered the ballpark gates. Vehicles transporting guests with special needs or disabilities are permitted to utilize the East Lot for this purpose. No vehicles are permitted to park curbside, nor are people able to stand and wait with vehicles.

In the six years since the Orioles moved major league spring training to Sarasota, more than 640,000 fans have enjoyed Orioles games at Ed Smith Stadium. The club now generates more than $81 million in economic impact annually to the greater Sarasota area. Whether hosting youth activities, participating in charitable causes or partnering in efforts to boost the local economy, the Orioles are active in Sarasota County all year long, proving that their commitment to the club's southern home goes far beyond baseball. For details, visit www.orioles.com/Sarasota.

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