SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -In a very big way, the Baltimore Orioles kicked off their opening day of spring training at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.
However, with COVID-19 policies only allowing 25% of fans in the stadium, it’s creating a battleground for buying one of the 1,833 tickets per game available. The club implemented “pod” seating throughout the ballpark to ensure proper social distancing of at least six feet between each group of ticket holders.
“So far it’s hard to find tickets, but we’re doing our best with some help from some friends,” said Sarasota resident and longtime baseball fan Frankie Ledger.
Ledger said he was one of many he knows that have had issues with buying tickets for the opening day of spring training after they went on sale the week before. He hopes things will improve as the season goes on.
“We hope the ticket buying gets better,” said Ledger.
On the other side of the aisle, baseball fan Tom Cinquegrano said him finding tickets wasn’t a stressful process.
“As for the overall experience I got all of my tickets and in the same section,” said Cinquegrano.
Cinquegrano said due to being a season ticket holder, it streamlined ticket buying, but said just like Ledger, some of his friends weren’t too lucky.
“Friends of mine who are not season ticket holders, can’t get any tickets at all, or for the Atlanta Braves down in North Port, they’re all sold out,” said Cinquegrano.
Major League Baseball has modified the 2021 Grapefruit League schedule to centralize play between clubs and minimize travel. The Orioles’ adjusted schedule features 14 home games at Ed Smith Stadium. The home schedule includes 10 afternoon games, all beginning at 1:05 p.m., and four nighttime games, each slated to begin at 6:05 p.m. The Orioles will conclude Grapefruit League play with a home game on March 29 against the Tampa Bay Rays.