Orioles and Ed Smith Stadium Named #1 Sports Facility


"Buck" Showalter, the manager for the Baltimore Orioles, surprised an audience of movers and shakers Wednesday the 21st at the 2018 Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Kick-Off Reception with an announcement about a new recognition earned by the Ed Smith Stadium.
Showalter let the cat out of the bag; “USA Today is coming out with an article. Of the 23 [spring training] complexes, Sarasota is going to be ranked the ‘Number 1 Best All-Around Facility in all of Baseball', so everybody should be very proud of that.”
In the article, now live on their site, USA Today describes the Ed Smith Stadium as, “The stadium no one wanted” before naming it No. 1, based on the input of fans and attendees of the stadiums. City Commissioners approved the original issuance of up to $9.5 million in bonds to help pay for the construction of the stadium in November of 2009. The decision brought to a close a tempestuous community-wide debate over the commitment, and it is a decision that Showalter says the team has not forgotten.
“From a field perspective, I know a lot of people made some commitments here that may not have been popular at one time.  and I think there are some people here tonight that do know what I am talking about, politically, [you] yourself on the line a little bit, and I know it's been a lot of fun for you all to say, ‘I told you so.’ So that doesn't go forgotten by us on the field every day. It takes a lot of sacrifice by people, financially, and also politically, so God Bless all of you, come out to see us.”
Showalter was joined by Jonathan Schoop, Second Baseman for the Orioles, and originally from Curacao. Schoop had this to say, “Thank you for this facility, it reminds me of Curacao. Thank you for the things you do for us. We feel good here, and I feel like I am home."
An analysis requested by Sarasota County Government estimates the presence of the facility and the Orioles provide almost $100 million in annual economic impact to the region.

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