Orioles announce 2019 spring training opening day plans

The Orioles have announced plans for Opening Day of the 2019 Spring Training season on Saturday, February 23, when the Orioles host the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. ET at Ed Smith Stadium. The game launches an historic season in which the Orioles will reach the milestone of one million fans attending Orioles Spring Training games in Sarasota.

Within the first three games, the Orioles will celebrate the “ONE MILLIONTH FAN” to attend an Orioles Spring Training game in Sarasota. The ballclub will select one fan at random on the day the milestone is reached to represent the one million fans. The Orioles “ONE MILLIONTH FAN” will receive a $5,000 shopping experience at Diamond Vault in Sarasota, two Spring Training season tickets for five years, and more.

Following long-standing tradition, all fans in attendance on Opening Day will receive a 2019 Spring Training schedule magnet, presented by Visit Sarasota. Additionally, the first 1,000 female fans (ages 15 and over) in attendance will receive a Birds of Paradise flower, courtesy of Beneva Flowers.

On Opening Day, the Orioles will highlight the ORIOLES HEALTH & FITNESS CHALLENGE, a partnership with Sarasota County Schools that teaches middle school students to “eat, train, and live like the pros” by focusing on the importance of healthy eating, tobacco-free living, and physical fitness. Sarasota Middle School’s Joyful Voices Honor Students will perform the national anthem before the game and “America the Beautiful” prior to the seventh-inning stretch. Hundreds of Fitness Challenge participants and their family members are expected to attend the game, and selected students who participated in the Challenge will take the field with the Orioles for the national anthem.

The Orioles will continue their popular BIRDLAND COMMUNITY HEROES program at every weekend home game this spring by recognizing local community heroes who inspire us through their spirited commitment to extend a hand in charity, service, hope, and harmony. These heroes will be recognized during a ceremony at the conclusion of the fifth inning, with LYNN BONNETT receiving the honor posthumously at the spring opener. Bonnett was a dedicated community volunteer supporting the Sarasota YMCA and Sarasota High School baseball. He helped establish the long-running Sarasota Baseball Classic and facilitated many other youth tournaments in Sarasota County. He also coordinated parking at Ed Smith Stadium for many years to benefit the Sarasota YMCA.

Fans can enjoy fun activities, special events, and giveaways all season long. Every Sunday home game, Applebee’s presents “KIDS RUN THE BASES”, when fans ages 4 to 14 will be invited to run the bases after the game. On February 26 and March 5, fans ages 60 and over will be invited onto the field for “SENIORS RUN THE BASES”.

On March 14, the Orioles will celebrate HEROES DAY, featuring a demonstration by the U.S. Special Operations Command Parachute Team, “The Para-Commandos,” presented by Cheney Brothers.

On March 17, GO GREEN DAY, the first 3,000 fans (ages 15 and over) will receive a “Go Green” tote bag, courtesy of MLB Network. Orioles players will wear specially designed green caps that will be autographed, authenticated, and auctioned online to benefit conservation education programs at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.

On March 19, the first 3,000 fans (ages 15 and over) will receive an Orioles pashmina scarf. On March 23, dazzling fireworks will light up the night sky after the game as the Herald-Tribune presents FIREWORKS NIGHT.

YOUTH BASEBALL DAY presented by Sun-N-Fun Resort will be March 24. Pre-registered youth teams will parade around the outfield. The first 4,000 fans (ages 15 and over) will receive a TREY MANCINI bobblehead.

Throughout the season, ballpark gates will open two hours prior to the scheduled first pitch. Season plan members will be able to access the ballpark 20 minutes early through a dedicated entrance at the Home Plate Gate for all 17 home games, including Opening Day.

OPENING DAY TIMING (GATES OPEN AT 11:05 a.m.; 10:45 a.m. for season plan members)

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

Orioles Batting Practice

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

Twins 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 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET., online at Orioles.com/Spring, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

In the nine years since the Orioles moved Major League Spring Training to Sarasota, more than 985,000 fans have enjoyed Orioles games at Ed Smith Stadium. An independent analysis commissioned by Sarasota County Government concluded that the Orioles generate approximately $97 million in annual economic impact back to taxpayers and residents. By marketing Sarasota to fans in the Mid-Atlantic region, operating a year-round athletic training facility, producing entertainment and sporting events, partnering with charitable causes, and hosting and often subsidizing youth sports tournaments and activities, the Orioles demonstrate an abiding commitment to their Florida home that goes far beyond baseball. For details, visit Orioles.com/Sarasota.