Karen and Michael Feduccia and their teenage son, Andrew, have had home plate season tickets for Baltimore Orioles spring training games since 2011, the second year Ed Smith Stadium became the Florida Grapefruit League home of the O’s.
“Baseball is kind of my church,” says Karen, a lifelong fan who played tee ball and then baseball with her brother “until they said, ‘you’re a girl, you’ve got to go play softball.’ I took up volleyball instead.
“The game is relaxing—the rhythm of the game, the crack of the bat, the sound when the catcher catches a fast ball. Where we sit at the stadium, I can hear all of that. It’s peace and harmony; the ball park is the one place where everybody gets along. You’re happy to be there.”
Karen says stadium staff works hard to make sure everybody has a good time, especially John and Sandy, their ushers in Section 112, with whom the Feduccias have become friendly. And players like former Oriole Manny Machado give a nod to Andrew, who has Down syndrome, when they come up to bat. “Andrew was a big Manny Machado fan,” says Karen. “Manny was really nice to him.”
The Feduccias’ high-visibility home plate seats once got her into trouble. “I used to skip out of work to go to every single game,” says Karen, who, like her husband, is in the financial services field. “Until one year my boss in New York City was streaming MLB on his work computer and called me on my cell phone during the game. He said, ‘I see you.’ I told him to count it as a personal day.”