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Ed Smith Stadium Is the Friendliest Park in Florida's Grapefruit League

It’s a banner year for the Baltimore Orioles as they celebrate 10 years of spring training at the stadium.

By Ilene Denton March 1, 2020 Published in the March 2020 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Ed Smith Stadium

Image: Courtesy Photo 

It’s a banner year for the Baltimore Orioles as they celebrate 10 years of spring training at Ed Smith Stadium. (Watch for lots of special 10th anniversary giveaways this spring like player bobbleheads and fireworks after select games.) Voted “the most liked venue for exhibition games” of all 23 spring training stadiums in USA Today’s 2018 fan survey, Ed Smith was named tops for its family-friendliness, food and drink—try the Maryland crab cakes—and fan experience. They must be doing something right; last year the O’s welcomed their one-millionth fan to the Sarasota ballpark.

The stadium was built in 1989 to replace downtown Sarasota’s circa-1924 Payne Park. Ed Smith originally was the spring home of the Chicago White Sox, then the Cincinnati Reds, and in 2010 the Orioles. A major renovation when the O’s came to town gave it what they call a warm “Florida picturesque” look that references the historic Sarasota County courthouse, the Ringling Museum and other important area public buildings. Many of the seats are refurbished ones from Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Ed Smith is also home to the Sarasota Orchestra’s outdoor pops concerts, this year May 8 and 9; a family Howl-A-Ween movie night in late October for Halloween; and, on March 19, a new March Madness watch party with free admission to the ballpark, games, contests and college basketball playing on the big video board.

The Baltimore Oriole with a fan


No. of Seats

7,400 plus standing room of 1,200

2019 Attendance

103,000-plus (approximately one-third of those from the mid-Atlantic region)

Estimated Economic Impact

$92 million

Summer Baseball League

Gulf Coast League Orioles

No. of Employees During Spring Training 


Best Place to Snag an Autograph

The sidelines near the dugouts are definitely the most popular place for fans to gather and collect autographs.


The Bird. He’s out and about year-round.

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