Orioles teaming up again with county on Big League Reader Program

Children 6 and older invited to read books this month to earn the opportunity to attend the Spring Training game on March 12

Bird, the Orioles' mascot, greets a young reader at a previous game. Photo courtesy Sarasota County
Bird, the Orioles’ mascot, greets a young reader at a previous game. Photo courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County is once again 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.

Each child who signs up at a county library and reads three or more books during February will earn a free reserved grandstand ticket to the Orioles Spring Training game at Ed Smith Stadium on March 12, as long as tickets are available, a county news release says.

During the month of February, 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 continues. After finishing three books, readers return to their libraries to get their scorecards stamped and signed by a library staff member, entitling each of the youngsters to a free reserved grandstand ticket to the Spring Training game on Saturday, March 12, at 1:05 p.m. The Orioles will take on the Minnesota Twins that day, the release adds. An adult companion ticket will be available at a reduced rate, the release says, as seating is limited.

This year, the first 100 children who finish the program will receive a free T-shirt when they get their scorecards stamped, the release notes. “Big League Readers will also have the opportunity to enter their names into a drawing for the chance to throw out the first pitch” of the March 12 game, the release points out.

All books must be read and scorecards stamped by Saturday, March 5, the release stresses.

“It’s a great program that kids love,” said Sarabeth Kalajian, director of the county’s Libraries and Historical Resources Department, 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. We appreciate the Orioles for their generous support of this literacy partnership.”

“The Orioles are proud to team with Sarasota County’s libraries to encourage youngsters to read,” added David Rovine, vice president of Orioles-Sarasota, in the release. “Youth literacy is a key community initiative supported by the Orioles, and we are excited to reward Big League Readers with a day of fun at Ed Smith Stadium.”

For more information, visit www.scgov.net or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000.