Baltimore Orioles: Ed Smith Stadium ranked number one in Florida
With the first Baltimore Orioles spring training game on the horizon, let’s take a quick moment to celebrate the latest ranking of Grapefruit League stadiums.
The home of the Baltimore Orioles, Ed Smith Stadium, was ranked number one according to an article in USA Today.
This ranking came as a surprise to those who compiled the numbers because Ed Smith Stadium almost didn’t become the home of the Orioles.
O’s have the best stadiums
But, the ranking should not come as any surprise to Orioles fans, who get to spend half of their season watching games at Camden Yards. The home of the O’s is frequently at or near the top of regular season stadium rankings. Ed Smith and Camden Yards were designed by architect Janet Marie Smith. She clearly excels at taking old spaces and making them new, without losing their classic looks.
Ed Smith Stadium is in Sarasota, Florida and it looks very Spanish-Floridian in design. But, inside the stadium, there are touches that remind fans and players of their home in Baltimore – especially the food.
Almost home to no baseball teams
According to the article in USA Today, Ed Smith Stadium was built in 1989. It was the home of the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Orioles. All three teams left the stadium before the O’s decided to move back in after the renovation that was complete in 2011.
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This is the complete ranking of the rest of the stadiums in the Grapefruit League, with Ed Smith at the top:
- Ed Smith Stadium, Orioles – Sarasota
- Spectrum Field, Phillies – Clearwater
- LECOM Park, Pirates – Bradenton
- Charlotte Sports Park, Rays – Port Charlotte
- First Data Field, Mets – Port St. Lucie
- Hammond Stadium, Twins – Fort Myers
- Roger Dean Stadium, Cardinals, Marlins – Jupiter
- Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, Tigers – Lakeland
- JetBlue Park, Red Sox – Fort Myers
- Dunedin Stadium, Blue Jays – Dunedin
- Steinbrenner Field, Yankees – Tampa
- Champion Stadium, Braves – Lake Buena Vista
- The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Astros, Nationals – West Palm Beach
Why spring training stadiums are worth visiting
As a fan who has been to several ballparks, including several in Florida, there is one thing that I appreciate about the Grapefruit League parks. I love how easy it is for fans and players to interact at the smaller stadiums. It does not surprise me that The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, which is the newest park on this list, is at the bottom. It is the most like a regular season stadium and loaded with concrete. Since I attend games with my teenage son, I appreciate the fan-player interaction. It is nearly impossible to get autographs at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Next: Orioles spring training broadcast schedule
Congratulations to the Orioles on this honor. And, Hallelujah! baseball is back tomorrow. In fact, the Orioles play the Rays at Ed Smith on Friday at 1:05 PM. Enjoy!