On April 6, 1979, the Oriole Bird hatched out of a giant egg at Memorial Stadium, the home ballpark of the Orioles in Baltimore from 1954 to 1991. Since then, he has served as the team’s official mascot and goodwill ambassador—and he’s a star athlete as well, according to team insiders, able to bat and throw with both wings. We asked the Orioles for an exclusive interview with their mascot, who will be appearing at spring training games this month at Ed Smith Stadium; his answers have been translated into English.
“While I’m in Sarasota year-round having fun at local events and supporting community causes, spring training is a high point because it means a new baseball season is under way. I love showcasing new dance moves in the warm weather at Ed Smith Stadium, and because so many of our Baltimore-area fans make the trip, I see lots of friends from Oriole Park. You can’t beat watching a game in the Sarasota sunshine with the best fans in baseball.”
“[Buck Showalter, the Orioles manager] sometimes will ask for whistles of encouragement when we play other teams like the Cardinals or Blue Jays. He thinks I have insight into how other bird teams work. Toronto’s mascot, Ace, is an in-division rival, since we are battling for the top of the American League East. He’s always hatching up a plan to foil us, but once the season is over we remain friends until our rivalry sparks again each spring.”
“Each season, all mascots get together at the MLB All-Star Game to help make the experience the best it can possibly be for fans. From participating in events at FanFest and the Home Run Derby to the actual game, the All-Star break is the one time each season when we can all get together to catch up and have fun.”
“To stay in topnotch shape, I start my workout with wing crunches and presses. I also do some exercises for my beak. For cardio, I do 90-foot flights. I have to stay active so I can keep up with our team and our fans. Dancing is a pretty good workout, too.”
“Sept. 16, 2014, is one of my happiest memories because we clinched the American League East for the first time since 1997. Another moment I will never forget was when Cal Ripken Jr. caught Garry Maddox’s line drive to end the 1983 World Series. It was the first time I saw a World Championship come to Baltimore!”
“Since I don’t travel with the team during the season, when the Orioles are on the road I spend time visiting Orioles fans at various community events and gatherings in both Baltimore and Sarasota. I love when I have time to visit with children because I can remind them of how important it is to do their homework, listen to their parents and teachers, eat healthy foods and be active.”
“The best and most important part of my job is to make sure that every fan who enters Oriole Park and Ed Smith Stadium has a great time—whether it’s leading a cheer, starting the wave, or taking a pie in the face after a victory. The not-so-best part has to be when the team is on the road. Even though I watch them on the road, nothing beats a full nest at Oriole Park.”
Fans often ask The Bird to give messages to the players, a request he is always happy to grant.
The largest attendance for a single Orioles game at Ed Smith Stadium was 8,797 on March 14, 2013.
The Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays April 6-8, July 24-26 and Sept. 17-20. The full schedule is available at baltimore.orioles.mlb.com.