This season, OriolesREACH once again teamed with the University of Maryland Medical Center to host a series of American Red Cross Blood Drives. Participants received exclusive gifts including 20th Anniversary Oriole Park at Camden Yards commemorative baseballs, as well as free tickets to an upcoming Orioles game.
On May 12, the Orioles hosted their annual Baltimore City youth baseball clinic at Radecke Park with more than 300 local youth. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones offered instruction along with O's coaches Wayne Kirby and Rudy Arias and Orioles Alumni Ken Dixon and Rick Krivda. The Orioles also provided tickets to that night's game for all children attending the clinic.
On September 29, Jake Arrieta, Wei-Yin Chen, Brian Matusz, Nate McLouth, and Chris Tillman visited the BARCs Animal Shelter near Oriole Park to meet fans and sign the 2013 Orioles Pet Calendar, presented by Southwest.
On April 25, June 12, and June 29, pitcher Brian Matusz visited pediatric patients at the Herman and Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai on behalf of the Casey Cares Foundation, a charity that provides uplifting programs for critically ill children.
As the Orioles marched toward their return to the Postseason, fans throughout Birdland were invited to "BUCKle Up" at a series of fan rallies over the final weeks of the regular season. Orioles players joined the OriolesREACH promo team and The Oriole Bird at events throughout the area, giving away game tickets, BUCKle UP themed team gear, and other fun items.
On August 27, the Orioles sent a limo to pick up Casey Cares child Kevin B. and his family and friends at home and whisk them away to Oriole Park for VIP treatment, a tour of the ballpark, batting practice, and special tickets to the game. Celebrating his ninth birthday and first day of fourth grade, Kevin, who suffers with the rare blood disease LCH, got a day out and away from his treatment at Sinai Children's Hospital. This event was part of the Family Festivities Program of the Casey Cares Foundation, a charity that provides uplifting and ongoing programs with a special touch for critically ill children and their families.
On September 12, Orioles Ryan Flaherty, Steve Johnson, Brian Matusz, and Steve Tolleson joined Casey Cares at the Extra Innings facility in Baltimore to meet, sign autographs and play games with critically ill children and their families. This Caring Connections party is one of the programs of the Casey Cares Foundation. The Caring Connections Program encourages families to meet, share, and support each other while taking part in themed, group parties.
The Challenger League offers boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 5-18, the opportunity to participate in an organized game of baseball. The most fundamental goal of the Challenger League is to give everyone a chance to play. The Orioles and the Oriole Advocates team up to support local Challenger Leagues by hosting tournaments, providing equipment, umpires, facility usage, and much more. In addition, Orioles game tickets, concessions and giveaways are provided to all participants in the league. The Orioles also helped host a series of Challenger League clinics and a multi-team tournament inviting teams from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to participate.
Also on May 12, Oriole Advocates Challenger Baseball, in conjunction with the Orioles, held a Fantasy Camp for Kids at Freedom Field in Lake Waterford Park in Pasadena. The clinic provided Challenger Baseball players the opportunity to learn baseball skills from Orioles pitchers Jake Arrieta and Jim Johnson and former Orioles Al Bumbry and Bill Swaggerty. The event included a variety of clinics providing over 40 Challenger Baseball players from Anne Arundel County, Frederick, Catonsville and Parkville the opportunity to learn pitching, throwing, catching and fielding skills. Each child also received a personalized jersey, autographs, a complimentary Junior Orioles Dugout Club membership package and tickets to that evening's game against the Rays.
Rookie pitcher Wei-Yin Chen visited with more than 60 students at Towson High School, including members of the Towson University Asian Culture Appreciation Club, Towson High School Chinese students, and members of the Towson High School baseball team.
In partnership with Teach for America and Baltimore City Schools, OriolesREACH helped provide Baltimore City School students with the learning environment they deserve. In August, Orioles Wives and family members along with Orioles employees, city school students, parents, and staff of Friendship Academy of Science and Technology came together to brighten the school with a fresh coat of paint.
On April 28, Orioles slugger Chris Davis visited with children from the Christian Youth Athletics Program. Chris spoke to the kids before their league's opening game, then threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
On August 29, travelers at Baltimore's Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport were surprised to see Orioles players Darren O'Day and Chris Davis "working" for Southwest Airlines as part of their Trading Places promotion. The players participated in a variety of jobs with Southwest employees, including marshalling an aircraft, taking tickets, making announcements, and welcoming passengers.
The line stretched around the Baltimore Convention Center and then some, as a group that eclipsed 18,500 -- more than twice last year's crowd --- came out to FanFest on January 19. With a few exceptions, the Orioles' entire 40-man roster was on hand for the all-day event. The morning kicked off with a Q&A session with fans and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter, who fielded queries about the upcoming season.
On April 5, the entire Orioles team attended the annual Greater Baltimore Committee's Welcome Home Luncheon at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel. The Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau co-hosted the event in recognition of Sarasota's "sister city" relationship with Baltimore and status as the Orioles' Spring Training home. Players and coaches discussed the upcoming season, signed autographs, and interacted with local businessmen and women.
local school were challenged to "Go Orange" by decorating their classrooms, gyms, or other spaces to show their Orioles Pride. St. Philip Neri School in Linthicum was named the Grand Prize Winner after submitting photos of their extensive redecorating project. The school decorated each classroom's door as well as hallways and decorated their cafeterias, served an Orioles-themed lunch, formed a "human O" for an orange and black-clad group picture and even named Manager Buck Showalter the school's honorary principal. Orioles pitchers Jason Hammel, Tommy Hunter, and Troy Patton, as well as MASN's Jim Hunter visited the school to reward them with tickets for the entire student body to an April 2013 game. Second Place Perry Hall Elementary and Third Place Halstead Academy of Science and the Arts also received game tickets.
This fall, Angela Showalter along with several Orioles front office staff members volunteered to pack holiday boxes of food for a traditional holiday meal as part of the Maryland Food Bank's Elect to End Hunger Program. More than 12,800 meals were packed and delivered to deserving families throughout the state.
On December 11, 2012, several current and former Orioles teamed up to host the 34th annual OriolesREACH Holiday Party for Kids. The party, which featured first through fifth-grade students at the Baltimore school, took place at Dave & Busters in the Arundel Mills Mall. J.J. Hardy, L.J. Hoes, Steve Johnson and manager Buck Showalter were in attendance, as well as former players Al Bumbry, Chris Hoiles, Dave Johnson and Scott McGregor.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that caused massive damage through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, OriolesREACH partnered with Von Paris Moving and Storage to help victims throughout New Jersey. Fans joined Orioles front office staff in donating relief items filling three moving trucks that were taken directly to relief centers in the hardest hit areas. In addition to these efforts, MLB and the Players Association jointly contributed $1 million to organizations helping communities devastated by the storm.
O's closer Jim Johnson was named the team's nominee for the prestigious 2012 Roberto Clemente Award by Major League Baseball and Chevrolet. Johnson was one of the 30 Club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet pays tribute to Clemente's achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others.
On October 7, Nick and Christina Markakis and their nonprofit organization The Right Side Foundation supported the Third Annual Casey Cares Foundation 5K Run and 1-Mile Fun Walk in Sparks. Proceeds from the race helped The Casey Cares Foundation provide uplifting programs to critically ill children and their families.
One of the clearest examples of the Orioles reaching out into the community is when Orioles players and coaches appear at various functions and events in our neighborhoods. Even the Oriole Bird has "flown" to over 300 events both in the Mid-Atlantic area as well as Sarasota since last season. This year, fans have also had the opportunity to meet their favorite players including Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Jim Johnson, Chris Davis, and Manny Machado at various locations throughout Birdland. Find out where your favorite current or former Orioles are appearing next.
Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is a youth outreach program designed to promote interest in baseball, increase the self-esteem of disadvantaged children, and encourage kids to stay in school and stay off the streets. The program is a national Major League Baseball initiative administered and financially supported by the Orioles at a local level. The Orioles also provide additional unique experiences for participants, including hosting team members at inner city youth clinics involving current and former players providing instruction, hosting all participants to watch a game at Oriole Park, and providing them with game tickets, bus transportation, concessions, hats and t-shirts. RBI participants in 2012 were also invited to be in the audience for major press conferences, be part of pre-game ceremonies including Opening Day and autograph sessions with players. Each year, the Orioles host a championship game for each division, giving the players a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play baseball on a Major League field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Winners of each division are presented trophies during a pre-game ceremony and an All-Star team is put together and given the opportunity to play at the Regional Tournament hosted by MLB. This year the tournament was played in Harrisburg, PA, with the Orioles providing bus transportation, per diem and hotel accommodations for two teams.
Skipper Buck Showalter and his wife Angela teamed up with KidsPeace, a private charity dedicated to serving to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children and their families, to host the third annual Trick-or-Trot 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk on October 27 in Canton. The event benefitted the KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs of Maryland.
On June 23, the Orioles partnered with The Y of Central Maryland, Baltimore Area Travel Softball (BATS), and the Coppin State University women's softball team to conduct their inaugural youth softball clinic at the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Family Center Y on the Ripken Youth Development field, located on the same site where Memorial Stadium once stood. The participants consisted of 100 girls from BATS and the Y of Central Maryland. BATS is a new league in inner city Baltimore focused on providing girls ages 12-16 the opportunity to play the game while preparing for high school. The girls were instructed on the fundamentals of softball by O's shortstop J.J. Hardy and his fiancée, Adrienne Acton, a four-year starter and two-time NCAA softball champion at the University of Arizona. The girls also received one-on-one instruction from the coaches of Coppin State University's Division I softball team.
The Orioles partnered with Maryland Public Libraries again this year to present their annual Summer Reading Club to young readers at more than 180 Maryland public library branches. The program, titled "Dream Big," was designed to encourage and reward area youth who commit to reading throughout the summer. Beginning in June, children from elementary school through high school were able to register at any Maryland Public Library and receive a reading log that guided them through the Summer Reading Program. Kids who completed the reading log received prizes including Orioles game tickets. All told, more than 150,000 students participated in the Summer Reading Program and the Orioles donated more than 7,000 tickets to their August 10 game.