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September 28, 2010

Renovation projects coming along well

Orioles manager Buck Showalter and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail today visited the Orioles' major league spring training complex at Ed Smith Stadium and the minor league facility at the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park. It will be interesting to get Showalter’s perspective on the facilities when he meets with the media later today. ed-smith-stadium.jpg

As for my perspective, I walked around both facilities yesterday with Orioles vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith, and I was impressed with how much progress has been made. I went to Ed Smith about six weeks earlier when the Orioles last played the Rays and they were still heavily involved in the process of taking things out -- as in the older seats and stuff -- than putting things on. But that has changed, and it’s easy to see why team officials are so confident that the project will be done by mid-February 2011 when Orioles start reporting for spring training.

“This is the most fun part of the project,” Smith said as she stood in what remained of the gutted press box and looked out toward center field. “You can see it coming together. Everything is no longer on paper.”

While we were there, workers were installing steel plates, which will help support a canopy that will address the frequent complaints about the lack of shaded areas at Ed Smith. All the entrances were cut out, including the one right behind home plate that will allow fans to walk in and immediately get a glimpse of the field. The spots for the deli and the Orioles team store were marked off, while bulldozers moved around dirt and debris in the areas that will hold both the home and visiting bullpens and the picnic area.

Workers are hoping to finish the steel work by November, and then they’ll begin the framing of the building and other projects. That will include laying Astroturf on one of the fields so the Orioles can prepare for playing 18 games a year on the turf at Tropicana Field and Rogers Centre.

The only part of the project that won’t begin is the renovation of the building that houses both the Orioles' clubhouse and offices. That probably won’t begin until after the team heads north after spring training.

As for Twin Lakes Park, the much-maligned facility, the main clubhouse building is completely gutted. Not only will the whole clubhouse building undergo a thorough and much-needed renovation, but four of the outfields will also be redone. The infields were made over last year.

The Orioles will then take some of the sod removed from Twin Lakes and bring it to Ed Smith, where it will be put down to clean up some of the nearby parking lots and areas.

“When we said we’re trying to put nothing in the dumpsters, we mean it literally,” Smith said.

Ed Smith Stadium will also use the seats removed from Camden Yards the past couple of offseasons.

Photo by Craig Landefeld

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 3:27 PM | | Comments (3)
        

Comments

Jim palmer also toured sarasota and was very complimentary. His comments seemed to say it is long overdue. I will be looking forward to spring training with Buck, I feel Andino is cementing himself into Lugos spot. I only hope there is still a spot for fox and tatum on the bench.. THE makeup will be up to Andy and Buck.

A good start on the Ed Smith Stadium. Let's see up dates periodically to see the "coming toghether" of the "new" stadium. A picutre of an improving, or iimproved areas woud be interesting.
See you in the spring as I like to attend the games there.

as the name indicates,i'm a big guy. are the new seats at ed smith stadium bigger than the old ones?

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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