Orioles celebrate “One Millionth Fan” to attend spring training in Sarasota

Confetti, balloons, and rousing applause greeted the announcement today when the Orioles selected Diana Love of Sarasota as the “One Millionth Fan” to attend an Orioles Spring Training game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

As fans streamed into the ballpark for the third home game of the 2019 season, the Orioles selected Love at random to represent the one million fans. In a special on-field presentation, Love received a $5,000 shopping experience at Diamond Vault in Sarasota, two Spring Training season tickets for five years, and more.

“I just want to say how excited I am to be the one millionth person to be here at Ed Smith Stadium. You know I’m going to be back here [at the ballpark] again,” said Love, a retired elementary school teacher. “I think that it represents what the Orioles have done for Sarasota, to have one million people come here. I am thrilled beyond words.”

Love and her husband, Mike, both worked as elementary school teachers in Bloomington, Ind., for 32 years. The couple has owned a home in Sarasota for 16 years and now, after retirement, spend the majority of the year there, attending games at Ed Smith Stadium during each Spring Training season.

“We are thrilled to honor all of our Spring Training fans over our first 10 seasons in Sarasota by recognizing Diana Love as our ‘One Millionth Fan’,” said GREG BADER, Orioles Vice President, Communications & Marketing. “We appreciate her dedication to the Orioles and are excited to welcome her back to Ed Smith Stadium for years to come.”

The Orioles began the 2019 Spring Training season on Saturday, Feb. 23, with total attendance of more than 985,000 since moving Major League operations to Sarasota County for the 2010 season. The team is the fastest franchise to reach one million fans in almost a century of Spring Training baseball in Sarasota.

“We are grateful for the tremendous support we receive both locally and among our fans who make the trip to Sarasota each spring,” Bader said. “The outstanding fan experience we offer, the many attractions of the Sarasota area, and our tourism marketing partnership with Visit Sarasota continue to draw visitors to Spring Training at Ed Smith Stadium. We look forward to welcoming fans throughout the rest of this season and into the future as we continue our year-round operations in Sarasota County.”

Tickets for Orioles Spring Training games 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.

The Orioles’ year-round operation in Sarasota County generates approximately $92 million in annual economic impact back to taxpayers and residents, according to an analysis by Sarasota County Government. 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.