Big League Reader program to kick off again next month

Partnership between the Baltimore Orioles and the county enables youngsters to win free reserved grandstand seats

Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County once again is “going to bat with the Baltimore Orioles and the Big League Reader program to encourage youth leadership and foster a love of reading,” the county has announced.

Children who sign up at a county library and read three or more books during February can earn a free reserved grandstand ticket to the Orioles’ March 11 Spring Training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, a county news release points out.

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the Big League Reader program is a collaboration between the county’s public library system and the Orioles, the release explains.

Children ages 6 and older may visit any of the nine Sarasota County libraries and pick up a Big League Reader scorecard to participate in the program, the release adds. After finishing three books, each reader may return to the library to get his or her scorecard stamped and signed by a library staff member, entitling the child to a ticket to the March 11 game.

This year, the first 100 youngsters who finish the program also will receive a free T-shirt when they return to the library and get their scorecards stamped, the release continues. Additionally, Big League Readers will have the opportunity to enter their names into a drawing for the chance to throw out the first pitch at the game, the release notes.

All books must be read and scorecards stamped by March 8, the release points out. “Stamped scorecards should be redeemed for a grandstand ticket at the Orioles box office by March 8,” it says. “An adult companion ticket will be available at a reduced rate,” the release adds, noting, “Seating is limited.”

The Baltimore Orioles take on the Boston Red Sox during Spring Training at Ed Smith Stadium on a past March day. Photo by Norman Schimmel

“It’s a great program that kids love,” said Sarabeth Kalajian, the county’s director of libraries and historical resources, in the release. “Most kids start out with the intention of earning a ticket to the game. In the end, not only do they experience a great day at the ballpark, they learn that reading opens doors and leads to new adventures,” she added in the release. “We appreciate the Orioles for their generous support of this literacy partnership.”

“The Orioles strongly support youth literacy in our community,” said David Rovine, vice president of Orioles-Sarasota, in the release. “Teaming up with Sarasota County’s libraries gives us an opportunity to encourage youngsters to read, while rewarding Big League Readers with a day of fun at Ed Smith Stadium,” he added in the release.

For more details on the Big League Reader program, visit or call the county Contact Center at 861-5000.