Credit Charlie Vascellaro, For The Baltimore Sun
The Orioles play their Grapefruit League home games at the recently remodeled
Ed Smith Stadium
, where the team set franchise records for spring training attendance in each of the last two seasons. The ballpark is a bright white and orange with different versions of the Oriole Bird logo hanging all over the place. Even the concession stands make you feel at home. Last year, my girlfriend bought us a couple of soft-shell crab sandwiches and the guy at the counter wanted to make sure we knew what they were. When she dropped one of them on the ground trying to get to her seat, a collective groan went up through our entire section. A 2012 Wild Card Pennant flag was added this year to the championship chandelier that hangs in the ballpark's main entrance lobby.
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Charlie Vascellaro Photo, For The Baltimore Sun
Located 10 miles from Ed Smith Stadium, the complex at Twin Lakes Park is the Orioles longtime minor league facility. The pastoral cloverleaf of practice fields provides a tranquil backdrop for the hard work of spring training. If you get there early in the morning before games, you'll be able to see members of the Orioles' expanded spring training roster and minor leaguers running through drills and working on the fundamentals of the game. Six larger-than-life photos of Orioles Hall of Famers, including former manager Earl Weaver, adorn the complex's main building. An oversized three-card set of Negro Leagues legend and Sarasota native Buck O'Neil, created by MICA graduate artist Gary Cieradkowski, decorates the observation deck at the center of the practice fields.
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For Baltimore baseball fans inspired by the Orioles' surprising success last year, spring training couldn't have come soon enough. Those who never wanted that magic season to end along with newbie Birds fans are already flocking in droves to the team's Grapefruit League home at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. If you go to Sarasota to see the O's this spring here are 10 things you'll want to know. -Charlie Vascellaro, For The Baltimore Sun