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The Baltimore Orioles: Winning On and Off the Field

November 27, 2023

In a season that was defined by comeback wins, record breaking performances, and drinks from the homer hose, there is only one word that will ever adequately describe the 2023 Baltimore Orioles – special. It was not just the moments on the field that made that team special, it was the impact they made off the field every single day.

Since Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Elias and Manager Brandon Hyde took over in 2019, the Baltimore Orioles have focused on building a winning culture on the field. Off the field, they have focused on giving back in the communities where we live, work, and play. Five years later, that is more evident than ever.

The difference Orioles players made off the field in 2023 may not have always been as obvious as a big win, but at the end of the day, it meant just as much to the culture they worked so hard to create.

If fans looked closely, they would see it: players taking time out of their pregame routine to thank former and current military members for their service or taking photos with a little boy recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, creating lifelong memories for he and his family.

It was someone quietly giving a signed bat to a local teenager who had to step away from the baseball field due to a medical condition but didn’t want to lose his connection to the game. It was players waking up early after a night game to donate bikes to local students or volunteer at baseball clinics.

If fans didn’t always see it, that was ok. Because that is not why they did it. They did it because when you become a Baltimore Oriole, giving back becomes a priority.

The Orioles had just completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets and were getting ready to host the Houston Astros for a three-game series when, instead of going home, more than 10 members of the team headed to TopGolf Baltimore. They weren’t going to play against each other, but rather to participate in a charity golf event hosted by pitcher Kyle Gibson, the Baltimore Orioles, and Big League Impact.

Orioles players golfed, met, and took photos with fans, ultimately helping to raise more than $36,000 for City of Refuge Baltimore, a non-profit organization focused on helping individuals and families out of crisis.

After a tough loss to the Colorado Rockies, infielder Adam Frazier, pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, and catcher Adley Rutschman lined up to run the bases. It is something they have done countless times before, but this time it meant a little more. Though the trio was technically too old to participate in Kids Run the Bases, that did not stop them as they walked around the bases with Alex, a four-year-old fan who was learning to walk again after undergoing Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. Even when they lost on the field, the Orioles always found ways to win off it.

Earlier this year, outfielder Austin Hays and his family, along with the Baltimore Orioles, hosted a silent auction benefiting Youth Emotional Support (YES), a non-profit focused on providing support and resources to individuals and families facing the challenges of mental illness. Hays and his teammates donated game-used and autographed memorabilia to the auction, raising thousands of dollars to help end the stigma of mental illness.

Throughout the season, pitchers Cole Irvin and Dean Kremer spent time at Baltimore’s Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), going as far as to take dogs home with them to give them a break from the shelter. The club also hosted numerous pet adoption events at the ballpark, helping animals find their forever homes when the shelter was in a state of emergency.

Similar to their winning culture, the Orioles’ culture of philanthropy goes beyond the Big Leagues. This past June, the Orioles partnered with each of their affiliates, as well as the Frederick, Sarasota, and Dominican Republic communities to give back across all of Birdland. As part of Orange & Black Gives Back Week of Service, nearly 500 players, coaches, and team personnel, as well as former players and front office staff completed 11 projects, compiling nearly 900 total volunteer hours, impacting seven communities across three states and two countries.

That culture has spread to the front office as well. Each month, members of Orange & Black Gives Back, the Orioles employee volunteer program, complete a service project in the Baltimore community. From distributing Thanksgiving meals from our Spring Training facility in Sarasota, to participating in a beach cleanup in the Dominican Republic, to packing personal hygiene kits for the homeless, to volunteering at the Maryland Food Bank, the Orioles make it a priority to be of the city, not just for the city.

That is what made the 2023 Baltimore Orioles so special. It was more than what happened on the field. It was the difference the organization made off the field, the seemingly small moments that impacted countless lives. That is the Orioles culture, and at the end of the day, those are the wins that will forever define the 2023 Baltimore Orioles.

While the 2023 season has come to an end, the Orioles continue to make it a priority to give back to the community. This Giving Tuesday, Oriole Park will continue to serve as a hub for community involvement when the Orioles and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield partner to host a drive-thru winter accessory collection to benefit The Food Project. Fans are invited to join the Orioles by donating new or gently used coats, scarves, winter hats, gloves, and socks on the Russell Street Service Drive from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28.

Those not local to Baltimore can give back through the Orioles online auction that will run from Tuesday, November 28 through Sunday, December 3. All proceeds from the auction will benefit The Food Project.