Spring Training 2015 – The Perfect Match of Sarasota and the Orioles

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(Newswire.net — January 27, 2015) Sarasota, FLORIDA — Sarasota, Florida.  Last week on a warm, sunny day, over 400 people stood in line at Sarasota. Florida’s Ed Smith Stadium ticket office to buy game tickets for the upcoming Baltimore Orioles spring training season.  The fact that this is twice as many people as there were in last year’s ticket office opening  line could  be due to Oriole fan excitement carry over from the Bird’s 2014 division championship, their best season in 17 years.  If that were the only reason they came in bigger numbers, it would be enough – after last season, the Orioles have earned additional fan attention.


But there is also another reason that has less to do with winning baseball, and more to do with a new breeze blowing through the area, freshening up Sarasota’s image.  That breeze is making Sarasota into even more of a cool place to live, vacation, and watch the annual spring birth of a very good major league baseball team. 


Why People Visit – And Stay

Sarasota has been a great small city for many years with its annual average 76 degree weather, award winning beaches, arts and cultural activities, great restaurants, numerous golf courses, water sports, and good places to stay, minus the crowds usually associated with a city with this much going on.


It’s home to a huge range of interesting people and activities such as Nik Wallenda, (often seen practicing for his next wire walk), The Ringling School of Art, the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions, a rich circus history, abundant roadside barbecue vendors, year around street fairs and garage sales, and much more.  It is one of those small cities in America that draws visitors in from around the world, and treats local area residents to a variety of baseball, and non-baseball events throughout the year.


It’s no wonder that millions of visitors come to Sarasota from all over the country and the world at all times of every year.


New Breezes

Even a short drive through the area reveals a new dynamic spirit that the 2015 Orioles spring training will open to. 


Colorful banners along newly completed roads adjacent to Nathan Benderson Park’s Rowing Center, announce to passersby a series of national youth, NCAA, and international rowing competitions scheduled out into 2018, including one of the world’s rowing crown jewels – the 2017 International Rowing Championship.  It is also a great place for people to fish, bike, walk, jog, or skate around its 5K perimeter. 


A beautiful new $7.7M, 26,000 square foot library has just opened in Gulf Gate, complete with the latest technology for online collaboration with other libraries, automated book returns, meeting rooms, a used book store, and outdoor reading gardens.


Sarasota has become a regional retail center with the opening of the $315M Mall at University Town Center, an 800,000 square foot – and still expanding – mall with a diverse set of shopping experiences and restaurants.  In addition to this new mall, there are many more vibrant shopping and retail locations in the area. 


New plans are being put in place by the newly reorganized and newly named Sarasota Sculpture Center which brings sculptures from around the world to display along Sarasota’s Bayfront.  They are amping up plans to continue to make this a downtown and waterfront draw.


New housing and building construction is underway with renewed vigor as the state and local economy improves.  The area economy including Bradenton and Venice, is part of a state economy that is improving at a rate of a third faster than the rest of the country.


Something For Everyone

For Orioles fans, February and March will be a great time to take a break from the winter. don shorts and short sleeves, and be a part of the forming of the 2015 Orioles – while enjoying all that the area has to offer.


Any baseball fan, regardless of team affiliation, will like the fact that Sarasota is the geographical center of a southwest Florida Gulf Coast corridor stretching from Tampa and Dunedin, south to Ft. Myers, and blessed with eight other major league training camps.  Most of those other ballparks are easily accessible in less than two hours by car, making it possible to attend a full calendar of spring and minor league baseball.


But what about those who are not baseball fans, and who just want to enjoy a vacation without baseball?  Sarasota excels in meeting those needs.  The collaboration between the Orioles and the city of Sarasota has been great for the team in a newly renovated training facility that is the envy of the Grapefruit League, and it’s been great for the community because of the Oriole’s generous donations and support.  Visitors and local residents, even those who are not baseball fans, benefit from the economic boost and vibrant community that the Orioles’s presence fosters. 


To keep track of this new spirit, a local company has launched www.sarasotaspringtraining.com that features information and articles about the Gulf Coast lifestyle and spring training.  It also features community organizations, and local businesses who want to serve the needs of visitors and residents through special deals and events.


Sarasota and the Orioles, are a perfect match.  Both are entitled to bragging rights for recent accomplishments, yet they understand that it is not just about this spring, it’s about what can be achieved for the rest of the year and the promise of springtimes to come.