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Orioles to host Sarasota Springfest as Spring Training workouts begin at Ed Smith Stadium

The Orioles invite fans of all ages to celebrate the start of Spring Training at Sarasota Springfest, a free family-friendly event at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday, February 17. Along with watching Orioles pitchers and catchers practice on the back fields, fans can also enjoy games and interactive activities in the stadium from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET.

The third annual Sarasota Springfest event will feature a question & answer session with 2017 American League Rookie of the Year Finalist TREY MANCINI at approximately 12:30 p.m. New this year, fans will have opportunities to play catch on the Ed Smith Stadium field, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark, and participate in a "Pitch for Charity" event to benefit All Faiths Food Bank.

The Orioles invite fans of all ages to celebrate the start of Spring Training at Sarasota Springfest, a free family-friendly event at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday, February 17. Along with watching Orioles pitchers and catchers practice on the back fields, fans can also enjoy games and interactive activities in the stadium from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET.

The third annual Sarasota Springfest event will feature a question & answer session with 2017 American League Rookie of the Year Finalist TREY MANCINI at approximately 12:30 p.m. New this year, fans will have opportunities to play catch on the Ed Smith Stadium field, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark, and participate in a "Pitch for Charity" event to benefit All Faiths Food Bank.

"This year's Springfest will be bigger and better than ever as we bring the fun and fans into the ballpark for even more activities," said DAVID ROVINE, Vice President of Orioles-Sarasota. "We're excited to add new opportunities like a chance to play catch on the main field and a fundraiser for All Faiths Food Bank, where fans can Pitch for Charity and a chance to win prizes. One lucky - and skilled -- fan could win season tickets to Spring Training!"

Mancini, who grew up just 90 miles north of Sarasota in Winter Haven, Fla., will answer questions from fans after a breakout rookie season in 2017. The 25-year-old outfielder tied for the team's highest batting average and led all MLB rookies in hits, despite switching positions at the Major League level. MASNsports.com beat writer ROCH KUBATKO will emcee the Q&A session.

Field conditions permitting, two sessions of 'Have A Catch' will be offered on the main field, at approximately 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Access is first-come, first-served, and participants must bring their own gloves and sign a liability waiver.

"We want to encourage parents, children, and fans of all ages to have fun on the same field used by the Orioles during Spring Training games," Rovine said. "Being able to play catch on a Major League ballfield is a rare experience for fans, and we're excited to provide that opportunity."

Orioles event staff will provide stadium tours every 20 minutes beginning at 10:00 a.m. Fans will see areas not usually open to the public, including the press box, World Series Suites, Home Plate Suite, Third Base Lounge, and visiting team's clubhouse.

Pitch for Charity is scheduled for approximately 12:00 p.m. at the Left Field Pavilion. Fans may purchase balls, ranging in price from $3-$10, at the event entrance and test their skill by pitching from the Pavilion into a target on the main field. All proceeds support All Faiths Food Bank, an organization that focuses on providing healthy solutions to end hunger in the Sarasota community. Fans can also earn Orioles-themed prizes based on their pitching accuracy.

Additional games will be set up to test fans' skills at baseball and a variety of sports. Activities will also include corn hole, giant Connect Four, face painting, and a photo booth provided by Magic Mirror SRQ. Local partners Sarasota County Parks and Recreation and SunCoast Blood Bank will be on hand to participate.

A day at the ballpark would not be complete without terrific food options for purchase, and Springfest will be no exception. Jimmy's Famous Seafood will return with award-winning crab cakes inspired by Baltimore's popular seafood restaurant. Ballpark fare will be offered at the concourse concession, and Craving Donuts will serve breakfast items at the back fields.

Access to Springfest will be through the Left Field Gate adjacent to the East Lot off of 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue, where free parking will be provided. Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, fans may visit www.orioles.com/springfest.

Fans are invited to watch Orioles workouts on the back fields at the complex each day from February 14 through February 22 from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The first full squad workout will be held on Monday, February 19. There is no charge to attend, and parking in the East Lot is free.

The Orioles will play their first of 16 home Spring Training games in 2018 at Ed Smith Stadium on Friday, February 23, at 1:05 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Rays. Spring Training game tickets, as well as Orioles merchandise, will be available for purchase during Springfest. Tickets are also available at www.orioles.com/spring and at the Ed Smith Stadium Box Office each day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Springfest is part of Sarasota 365, a host of initiatives through which the Baltimore Orioles and OriolesREACH demonstrate the ballclub's year-round engagement with the Greater Sarasota community. A recent independent analysis commissioned by Sarasota County Government concluded that the Orioles generate approximately $89 million in annual economic impact back to taxpayers and residents. By marketing Sarasota to fans in the Mid-Atlantic region, operating a year-round athletic training facility, producing entertainment and sporting events, partnering with charitable causes, and hosting and often subsidizing youth sports tournaments and activities, the Orioles demonstrate an abiding commitment to their Florida home that goes far beyond baseball. For more information, visit www.orioles.com/Sarasota.  

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