Baltimore Orioles all set for spring training, 2016


The Baltimore Orioles this week took a small step towards the 2016 season when they finalized their spring training schedule for 2016 (linked here). The O’s will open up their spring slate of games on March 1st with a visit to the Atlanta Braves’ complex in Atlanta, before the home opener against those same Atlanta Braves the next day in Sarasota. Ironically, the Birds will close the spring season at home against Atlanta as well.

All in all, the Orioles will play 16 spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium next year, a facility that has become the envy of nearly every team in baseball. The O’s will also pay visits to the spring facilities of Tampa, Toronto, Boston, Philadephia, New York, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and of course the aforementioned Atlanta Braves. The O’s also have two split squad days scheduled, which I feel is somewhat lighter than normal.

One thing that has become very clear in the past decade or so is that the Gulf side of Florida is becoming the place to be when it comes to spring training for MLB teams. The Orioles of course trained in Fort Lauderdale for years, and speaking for myself I always thought that was a great area for them. Of course at the end of the day it boiled down to the fact that Fort Lauderdale Stadium was old and rickety, and the O’s wanted a much nicer facility. However I thought that southeast Florida was a good place to train overall (withstanding the park).

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

But now a lot of teams are migrating over to the Gulf side of the state. The New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Nationals are still on the Atlantic seaboard side of the state, but even a few of them are now considering moves. The idea behind these spring games is for the road trips to be fairly short and easy. Managers form a travel roster and the teams board busses a few hours before game time.

But with only a few teams left on the Atlantic side, their road trips are now becoming more and more difficult. Furthermore many of the Gulf teams such as the O’s aren’t really keen on treking across the state of Florida to visit some of these other teams. I’ve always said that the Arizona Cactus League is a bit more suitable for spring training given that some teams’ facilities are literally five or ten minutes apart. I knew a guy awhile back who told me he had gone down to Phoenix for spring training once and he would take in three games all in the same day.

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  • That might tire out even the most dedicated baseball fan – myself included! But that’s the beauty of spring training. Ticket prices are fairly cheap and it’s an overall fun environment – both for players and fans. I always recommend to people that if they’re going to head down to spring training they should do so after the second week. Not that the earlier games on the slate aren’t important, but the pitchers are still well ahead of the hitters – who are trying to get their timing back and so forth.

    More simply put, the quality of the games are going to be better in the second part of spring training. Now with that said, you might also stay away from the final couple of games also. The players are so ready to go for real at that point that at times they might come across as sleepwalking through games.

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    The O’s don’t open the regular season until Monday, after the final spring game the previous Thursday night. There have been years where they’ve added an exhibition game against a local Sarasota-area junior college, or someone along those lines. It’s unclear at this point if that’s happening or not. Either that, or they might just give the players an extra couple of days to get settled back in Baltimore before Opening Day on April 4th.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Great Scott! The future's pretty heavy!

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