Amid the excitement for last night’s World Series game one, the Baltimore Orioles released their Spring Training schedule for 2017 earlier this week. What exactly does that mean for the here and now? Well, nothing much, although you can view the schedule by clicking here.
If you’re one of the thousands of fans who makes an annual pilgrimage to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota to see the Orioles during Spring Training, you can now start making your plans. The Birds actually start playing games in February next year, which seems earlier than normal. However they’ll begin on February 24th with two consecutive road games, against Detroit in Lakeland and then the next day against Pittsburgh in Bradenton.
The home opener at Ed Smith Stadium is on Sunday February 26th against Pittsburgh once again. As is usually the case, most of the games are at 1 PM. However the Orioles will play four evening games at Ed Smith Stadium next year. And I’ve always thought that was a smart thing to do, especially towards the end of Grapefruit League play. It gets players acclimated to playing night games as they generally do during the regular season.
Ironically, the Orioles will only host the NY Yankees once during Spring Training, on February 27th. They’ll host Boston, Tampa, and Toronto twice. Philadelphia will make three appearances at Ed Smith Stadium, as will Detroit.
Keep in mind that it’s always challenging for the Birds to get their Grapefruit League schedule finalized. Teams literally line up to come and play the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium due to the great facility that the Birds have created there. Whereas when they trained in Fort Lauderdale teams wouldn’t want to come play them, in Sarasota they have to beat them away with a stick!
This year’s slate also includes a game against the Dominican Republic on March 7th as they prepare for the World Baseball Classic. Presumably this would not in theory count towards the Grapefruit League standings, which in reality count only in a kangaroo court-type setting. But it’s on the schedule, needless to say.
The Birds finish up on Thursday, March 30th in Sarasota against Detroit, but don’t open the regular season until the following Monday at home against Toronto. In the past they’ve scheduled some additional exhibition games, either against local Sarasota-area colleges, or in some cases against the Norfolk Tides. If anything like that is in the works, it hasn’t been announced as of yet. So there you have it Birds’ fans…get your reservations set for spring!