Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Kid in Town

Yesterday while bicycling north on Tuttle Avenue I passed by venerable Ed Smith Stadium the former home of my hapless Sarasota Reds.

At the southeast corner of the stadium property there used to be an old sign announcing that Ed Smith was the spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds. Yesterday it has been replaced by the one above for the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles are making a change in their spring training venue moving from crime ridden and just-not-very-nice Fort Lauderdale to beautiful Sarasota. I never felt much kinship for the Cincinnati Reds when they were still here last year. I attended a couple games but my heart just wasn't in it. I've not really had much interest in the Reds since Pete Rose stopped playing a very long time ago.

On the other hand the Baltimore Orioles are an entirely different story. Until the Nationals moved to Washington DC a few years ago, the Orioles were the only baseball team nearby. I remember many times the Fish and Wildlife Service arranging buses to take fans up to Camden Yards for night games and I made more than a few of those treks. Back in those days Cal Ripken was the huge draw of the Orioles and for the most part he still is today - even though he's no longer playing.

Despite it being almost Thanksgiving Day, the Orioles still have zero information posted on their website about the 2010 spring training schedule and about ticket information.

Regardless, it will be great having a team that I already like here in town for spring training. I'm already fantasizing about sitting in Section 14, Row A, Seat 1 directly behind home plate and heckling whomever the Orioles play.

Rumor has it that Cal Ripken and the Cal Ripken Foundation have some things in the works to bring a Class A team of the Orioles to Sarasota for the minor league season. I certainly hope so because I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a minor league team to root for and more importantly if I didn't have 11 other teams that I can again heckle all summer long.

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