Pressbox has provided some interesting details about the upgrades to Ed Smith Stadium, which are being guided by Janet Marie Smith. Smith designed Camden Yards.
Smith has been working with David Schwarz Architects, based in Washington, D.C., and Hoyt Architects, based in Sarasota, to ensure the new Ed Smith Stadium will reflect both the mid-Atlantic origins of the Orioles and the Floridian location in which the stadium resides.
“There will be more orange and black and Oriole birds on this facility before it’s over with,” Smith said on “Inside PressBox.” “There’ll be no mistaking that it’s our spring training home. It’s been beautifully designed. … David Schwarz, the architect that worked with the local company of Hoyt Architects, really worked hard to develop something that had a real Floridian character.”
During their first season in Sarasota, the Orioles set a spring training attendance record, when more than 100,000 fans attended their 14 home games. About 1,500 seats are being brought in from Camden Yards to increase the ballpark’s capacity to 9,000.
Here are some photos of the aforementioned Camden Yards seats at Ed Smith Stadium, courtesy of Sarasota friend of the blog Norm Schimmel.
The Pressbox article also notes the strategic touches added by Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter.
Between Ed Smith Stadium and Twin Lakes Park, the team’s minor league facility that is also undergoing some modifications, the Orioles have nearly 89 acres of space with 10 fields for their major league team and minor league affiliates to use.
One of those fields will now be made of Astroturf, Smith said, because Andy MacPhail, the Orioles’ president of baseball operations, thought it would help the team prepare for trips to the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tropicana Field and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Rogers Centre, both of which boast synthetic turf.
A suggestion by Orioles manager Buck Showalter caused another field to be changed. He took a tour of the facility in September and asked architects to adjust the dimensions of one of the practice fields so it would conform to the specifications of Camden Yards.
Construction is expected to be completed by the time players report to Sarasota on Valentine’s Day. Here are some additional photos of construction in progress, taken in December by Norm.