Baltimore Orioles and Sarasota County Libraries invite readers to sign up for Big League program

Children and youth ages 6 to 18 can earn free grandstand tickets to March 14 game with Pittsburgh

Orioles mascot Bird enjoys reading, too. Image courtesy Sarasota County and the Baltimore Orioles

Sarasota County is once again teaming up with the Baltimore Orioles for the Big League Reader program “to foster youth literacy and a love of reading,” the county has announced.

Now in its 10th year, the program encourages children and teens, ages 6 to 18, to read three or more books during February and March to earn a free, reserved grandstand ticket to an Orioles Spring Training game at Ed Smith Stadium, a news release explains. The date of that game this year is March 14; it will begin at 6:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium, which is located at 2700 12th St. in Sarasota. The Orioles will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Adult companion tickets will be available at reduced rates, the release points out. Seating is limited, however.

Until the completion of the program on March 9, the release continues, children and teens may visit any of the 10 Sarasota County libraries to pick up a Big League Reader scorecard.

All books must be read, and scorecards stamped, by Monday, March 9, the release stresses.

Each of the first 100 children or youth who completes the program also will receive a free wristband when he or she returns to the library and gets his or her scorecard stamped, the release points out. Further, Big League Readers will have the opportunity to enter their names into a drawing for the chance to throw out the March 14 game’s first pitch, the news release notes.

Every reader will receive a free hat, too, if he or she wears the wristband to the game, the release adds.

Stamped scorecards will be accepted at the Ed Smith Stadium box office until Wednesday, March 11, the release notes.

For more information, call the county Contact Center at 861-5000 or visit