Guide to Orioles Spring Training in Sarasota

In just over four weeks, the first normal spring training in four years is set to begin in Sarasota. Pitchers and receivers will report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex on February 15eand the first training should start on the 16the. Position players will report on February 20e with the first full team training on February 21st. The first game of the Grapefruit League is scheduled for February 25e in Sarasota against the Minnesota Twins.

If you’re planning a trip to Sarasota, here’s what you need to know.

How should I get there? Southwest Airlines offers four nonstop flights per day between BWI and Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport. SRQ is about 15 minutes from Ed Smith Stadium.

It’s a small and growing airport, and sometimes rental car pick-up lines can be long.

Where should I stay? Every hotel chain is well represented in Sarasota, but after two years of Covid-affected spring training and last year’s lockdown causing a late, shortened spring, fans and non-fans alike are flocking to Sarasota this year, which drive up hotel prices.

If you are considering a trip to Sarasota, I would advise you to book it soon.

There are many hotels near the airport, which is not far from the baseball stadium. Some fans like to rent Airbnb and Vrbo.

There’s so much to do besides baseball, but if you’re going to multiple games, I’d recommend staying in downtown Sarasota or near the airport as traffic has gotten much heavier in recent years, but many fans like to stay on Siesta Key or near Lido Beach.

What games should I attend? There are 17 home games from February 25e until March 27e. Twelve games start at 1:05 p.m. and there are five starts at 6:05 p.m. – March 3rdtene16e23rd and 24e.

There are games against the Twins, Rays, Blue Jays, Pirates, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Tigers, Yankees and Cardinals.

If you plan to see the Blue Jays or the Yankees, don’t expect to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton. The big names rarely take road trips, and if they do, they usually go to closer stadiums.

The first 10 days of Grapefruit League games feature starting pitchers who only work an inning or two, a sprinkling of regulars who play briefly, and plenty of young players.

These 10 days might be your only chance to see Cedric Mullins this spring as he leaves the Orioles after a few weeks of training for Team USA’s entry into the World Baseball Classic. The same goes for Anthony Santander, who will play for Team Venezuela, Dillon Tate (Team USA) and Dean Kremer (Team Israel).

Should I go to away matches? Ed Smith Stadium is Florida’s finest spring training park. However, it’s always fun to see the Orioles on the road, and they’ll be playing the Tigers (Lakeland), Pirates (Bradenton), Rays (Tropicana Field), Twins and Red Sox (both in Fort Myers ), the Phillies (Clearwater), Blue Jays (Dunedin), Braves (North Port) and Yankees (Tampa).

Many Oriole regulars won’t be traveling to away games, especially in early spring, and I’d avoid split-squad game days (March 13e in Port Nord and on March 19e in Tampa) as the number of recognizable players for the more casual fan may be low.

Due to hurricane damage to their spring training headquarters in Port Charlotte, Tampa Bay will play nearly all of its Grapefruit League games at Tropicana Field, and the atmosphere is unlikely to be lively.

The Orioles visit LECOM Park in Bradenton on February 28eMarch 14e and 25e. It’s an easy way to see games on the road as the Pirates play just 20 minutes from Ed Smith Stadium.

My favorite road park is BayCare Park in Clearwater, home of the Phillies. The Orioles visit on March 9e and 20e. They sell DELCO cheesesteaks, which are excellent, and baseball’s best mascot, the Philly Phanatic, is also often on hand.

What remains to be done? I don’t have a lot of free time in spring training. The only scheduled rest day for the Orioles is March 15.eand every year I try to do something new.

Over the years I’ve been to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which is near the airport, the Mote Marine Aquarium on Longboat Key, and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on days off.

I’m not a big beach lover, but I love the areas around Lido Beach and Siesta Key. Traffic and parking can sometimes be difficult. One area I try to visit every year is Anna Maria Island, located north of Longboat Key. Its beach can be less crowded and there are great restaurants there.

The best shopping is at St. Armand’s Circle, near Lido Beach.

Where should I eat? It’s my favorite part of doing the guide every year because I try to sample a new restaurant or two every spring, and I get recommendations from people who know Sarasota.

One I can’t wait to try is La Mucca Ballerina, a popular Italian restaurant on Main Street in downtown Sarasota. It is described as “a cozy, relaxed, family-friendly place with incredibly delicious Italian food”.

Greek fans found Blu Kozina, also in St. Armands, which I haven’t been to either. Another one I can’t wait to try is the St. Armands Oyster Bar.

My favorite restaurant in Sarasota is Owens Fish Camp, which doesn’t take reservations and has long lines. Other favorites include Dry Dock on Longboat Key, Shore Diner, Speaks Clam Bar and Columbia (Cuban food) all in St. Armands, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Circo for Mexican food and margaritas, Pacific Rim or Yume (Main Street) for sushi, and for Amish-style family meals, Yoder’s.

I have two favorite burger spots – Patrick’s on Main Street and Island House Tap and Grill in Siesta Key. Another favorite is Blue Marlin on Bradenton Beach, which fills up quickly so make your reservations now. During NCAA conferences and tournaments, Duffy’s in Sarasota boasts dozens of televisions, sports memorabilia and passionate fans.

Call for questions: I will be answering questions from the Orioles in the next few days. Please email them to: [email protected]

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