Spotlight On Spring Training
The Sarasota area has long played host to Major League Baseball during pre-season training, ever since circus impresario John Ringling enticed the New York Giants to practice here in 1924. A long line of teams followed, including the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and, in 2010, the Baltimore Orioles. They are a part of the Grapefruit League, one of 15 MLB teams who travel south for pre-season prep, enjoying the chance to get back in the swing of things in the Sunshine State beginning in February each year.
The Orioles play at Ed Smith Stadium, a 53-acre park that includes both the stadium and a spring-training complex with four practice fields. After a $31.2 million renovation in 2010, Ed Smith is one of the country’s most highly-regarded baseball facilities. Just over 13 miles from Longboat Key, it’s a beautiful example of local architecture, too.
Baltimore Orioles spring training for 2018 starts on Friday, February 23, when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium, the first of 16 home games. All but four of this season’s games start at 1:05 p.m. and run through the week, with the others starting at 6:05 p.m., including the season-ender on the home field against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, March 24. Catching them playing on the weekend is a real treat, and kids aged 4-14 can even stay after to run the bases.
The Baltimore Orioles aren’t the only team to make their way to this part of the Gulf Coast for spring training. Nearby Bradenton hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field, while the Atlanta Braves plan on moving their training to North Port in 2020. Pre-season training is one of the area’s unique assets, and it gives us all the more reason to look forward to spring here on Longboat Key.
Ticket prices and information about season plans is available here.
Visit our website to view our private accommodations with availability during spring training!