Despite a slow start to the season away from Ripken Stadium, short-season Single-A Aberdeen will receive a lot of attention when the club returns home this weekend.
After going 1-5 on a six-game road trip to begin the year, the IronBirds will host Brooklyn in a 7:35 p.m. game Friday. On Saturday night, top prospect Dylan Bundy will pitch for Aberdeen.
And there will be a new "Ripken orange" glow in the outfield.
The IronBirds, who changed their colors this season to match the Orioles' orange-and-black scheme, completed the installation of orange padding -- called "Ripken orange" in a news release -- on the outfield fence at the ballpark Thursday.
"We designed the new outfield wall to enhance the fan experience and to create a distinct home field advantage for the new-look IronBirds," said Colin Clark, Ripken Baseball's vice president of brand marketing, in the release. "Paired with the team's new Under Armour uniforms, the fresh atmosphere at Ripken Stadium further establishes Aberdeen as the place where Birdland begins and innovation lives."
The upgrade, completed by Promats Athletics and paid for by the city, included installation of 390 pads that combined the orange with black pads on the backstop wall, dugouts and batter's eye in center field, according to the release.
The team also has incorporated the Orioles' black-and-orange color scheme throughout the stadium.