Very quietly last week the Baltimore Orioles added a game to their spring training schedule in 2020. And a home game at Ed Smith Stadium at that. The O’s will take on the New York Mets at 1 PM on March 23, 2020 in Sarasota. Presumably, this will be the final game of the Grapefruit League season.
We’ve seen the O’s add games against local universities in the past at the tail end of spring training – games which incidentally didn’t count towards the “standings” for the Grapefruit League. Not that the standings matter, but just saying that for the sake of saying it. Nevertheless there’s an additional game that’s now on the schedule.
Why does this even matter? At the end of the day it certainly does matter to season ticket holders in Sarasota. But it’s also just an additional opportunity for guys to make an impression for the Orioles’ brass. And I suspect that most players would relish that chance.
For what it’s worth, the Orioles will also celebrate their 10th year at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota in 2020. It’s kind of hard to believe if you think about it. When the O’s arrived in town Ed Smith Stadium was a rag-tag facility with few creature comforts. Now that they’ve fully renovated the park, it’s the envy of almost every team in baseball.
The Orioles have also invested big time in the Sarasota community, and they have a year-around presence there. I’m not sure there’s another community (in either Florida or Arizona) which embraces a major league team in the manner that Sarasota does for the Orioles. When you invest in the community, the community pays you back in a big way. Needless to say, it’s truly been a mutually beneficial relationship for the Orioles and Sarasota.