Gulf Coast League play begins today at Ed Smith Stadium

The iconic Baltimore Oriole sits atop Ed Smith Stadium. Photo by Norman Schimmel

The Orioles Gulf Coast League team begins its 2012 season at the Ed Smith Stadium complex today, June 18, at noon versus the Twins.

The GCL, which includes 14 teams in Florida, gives recently drafted or signed players their first experience in professional baseball, a Baltimore Orioles news release points out.

A link to the season schedule is available online at

The Gulf Coast League began operations in 1964 as the Sarasota Rookie League, according to In 1966, the name changed to Gulf Coast League. All games that year were played in Sarasota, the website notes.

The Orioles GCL home games, which run through August, are open to the public at no cost. Parking also is free and is located in the east lot.

Spectator access is through the backfield entry south of the parking area, which is located on 12th Street just west of Tuttle Avenue.