While Orioles fans in the Baltimore area are counting down the days to sunny skies, warm weather and the return of baseball at Camden Yards, a huge flock of O's fans in Sarasota, Fla., is just days away from the return of their favorite team.
Since moving their full-time spring training operations to Sarasota in 2010, the Orioles have been able to make a huge impact on the Florida community within the confines of Ed Smith Stadium - "Birdland South" - and beyond.
Orioles spring training games have been a great source of tourism to the area. In 2014, the Orioles saw a record-breaking average attendance of 7,454. This attendance brought the total attendance at Ed Smith Stadium for Orioles Grapefruit League games to more than a half-million visitors.
While Sarasota is a popular destination for fans to visit, it is also a place that the Orioles organization has deep, year-round roots, and the team's impact can be seen throughout the county.
For instance, Sarasota County and the Orioles have partnered with the Big League Reader Program, which encourages children to read. Children who enroll in the program through their public library and read three books in February earn spring training tickets.
The O's have partnered with many other community outreach programs, including the Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program and the Miracle League of Manasota, an organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for every person to play baseball.
The Oriole Bird will also be making three stops to help open youth baseball leagues.
Since 2010, the Orioles have donated more than $1.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions to the community.
For more information on spring training games or the O's impact in Sarasota, visit orioles.com/springtraining.
By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/