As spring training games begin this weekend throughout Florida, the Baltimore Orioles, which train in Sarasota, held a golf tournament Wednesday at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club to raise money for the Miracle League of Manasota, an organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for every person to play baseball, regardless of their ability.
Orioles pitcher and Sarasota resident Jim Johnson organized the third annual Birdland Golf Classic in conjunction with the Orioles Reach program. Orioles players, including manager Buck Showalter took part in the event. A video interview with Johnson is posted to this article.
The Manasota Miracle League begins play March 16 in Longwood Park. Games are scheduled every Saturday for 10 weeks.
For the 14,000 school-aged children with disabilities and their adult counterparts in Sarasota and Manatee counties, a synthetically surfaced baseball field with all the requisite amenities was built last year in Longwood Park, just off University Parkway in Sarasota. Sarasota County committed $500,000 to the capital improvement of Longwood Park, while the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates contributed $150,000 for the field. The opening game of the Miracle League of Manasota was held on March 17, 2012. For more information, visit www.miracleleaguemanasota.org.
The Orioles open the 2013 Grapefruit League season on Saturday February 23 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota against the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m.
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