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Orioles to have 25 percent capacity at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota for spring training games

In what could be a precursor to the Orioles welcoming fans back to Camden Yards in Baltimore after it was empty for the 2020 season, the team announced Friday that fans would be welcome in a limited capacity to their spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

The team will use pod seating to ensure at least six feet of distance between groups of fans and will have 1,833 tickets available for the games, representing 25-percent capacity.

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In a statement, senior vice president for community development and communications Jennifer Grondahl said the Orioles are “thrilled to safely welcome fans back to the ballpark to join us at Ed Smith Stadium this spring.

“As always, the health and safety of our entire Birdland community remains our top priority. As we partner with Major League Baseball and health experts to create extensive safety measures, we will be relying on each and every fan to do their part so we can safely enjoy baseball together again.”

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The team said policies for regular season games at Camden Yards “are still being determined and will be announced at a later date as soon as plans are finalized.”

Workouts begin in Sarasota for pitchers and catchers next week, but those will be closed to the public out of precaution.

For those who want to attend games in Sarasota, there will be plenty of changes from last time fans watched the Orioles play there. Masks will be required in and around the stadium, all payments will be cashless, and no outside food or beverages will be allowed into the stadium.

Parking and gates will open an hour before first pitch, and autographs are not permitted.

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Spring Birdland memberships and five-game flex packs are currently on sale at Orioles.com/spring, with single-game tickets on sale Saturday, Feb. 20. For more information, visit https://www.mlb.com/orioles/spring-training/health-safety.

The spring training schedule was also changed slightly to accommodate less travel for teams. The Orioles were slated to begin play on Feb. 27, but will instead play the Pittsburgh Pirates on Feb. 28 for the first of 14 home dates.

Grapefruit League teams will each play 28 games, with two universal off days. Spring training ends on March 29 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

SPRING TRAINING

Key dates for the Orioles’ preseason preparations in Sarasota, Florida:

Feb. 16: Pitchers and catchers report

Feb. 23: Position players report

Feb. 27: First exhibition game vs. Atlanta Braves

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