There’s a special kind of buzz around the city of Sarasota when the Baltimore Orioles come to town for Spring Training. Fans of not just the Orioles but every MLB team show up to Ed Smith Stadium to enjoy a nice, relaxing day at the ballpark.
Since 2010, Ed Smith has been the Spring Training home of the Orioles and underwent a $31.2 million renovation prior to the 2011 season. The stadium now holds 8,500 people and has several features that allow a little bit of Baltimore to exist in sunny Sarasota.
In terms of physical structures, there are a few that are reminiscent of Baltimore. The seats in Ed Smith are refurbished seats from Camden Yards, the Orioles’ home stadium in Baltimore. There are also three suites in the park numbered Suites 66, 70, and 83 that correspond to the team’s three World Series Championships.
Some Maryland customs that are prominent at the stadium are two of Baltimore’s staple foods — crab cake sandwiches and snowballs. Fans not from Maryland have a chance to indulge in these two treats that aren’t often available to them. The state is famous for its blue crabs that are turned into crab cakes as well as its snowballs, a snowcone-esque dessert. Snowballs may seem just like snowcones to non-natives, but there’s something special about this particular ice and juice combination that isn’t fully understood until trying one.
If anyone wants to get a small taste of what Baltimore is like without actually going there and having to deal with the cold and the snow, heading to Ed Smith Stadium for an Orioles Spring Training game is the perfect place to start.