Spring Training is now just two and a half weeks away for the Baltimore Orioles and fans are already looking forward to March 31 when the O's will host the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox on Opening Day, but sometimes we forget about the Orioles' Minor League affiliates. If you do not live near one of the Birds' affiliates, then it may be hard to believe, but the local communities anxiously look forward to Opening Day as much as Orioles fans look forward to Baltimore's, so today we thought we would provide the Opening Day schedules for all the Orioles affiliates.
There is nothing like going to a Minor League baseball game as the atmosphere is spectacular, the seats are much less expensive than big league games, and the ball parks are much more geared around the family experience. If you have never been to a Minor League game, we certainly suggest you do, we doubt you will regret it.
The AAA affiliate of the Birds will open up the regular season in April, but before that the team will host its' Major League parent as the Tides will host the Orioles on March 29 at 3:05 PM in Norfolk as the Orioles last warm up before the season begins.
Norfolk will begin its regular season on April 3, when they host the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 PM as part of a eight game home stand to begin the season, before hitting the road for the first time on April 11 in Charlotte.
The AA affiliate will also open the season on April 3 with a 6:35 PM start time against the visiting Harrisburg Senators. Bowie will enjoy a seven game home stand to begin the season before hitting the road on April 10 as they travel to Akron.
The High-A affiliate of the Birds will be in action to begin the season on April 3 as well, but instead of opening at home, they will be in Lynchburg to take on the Hillcats at 6:05 PM. After a four game series against the Hillcats and a day off, the Keys will host their first game of the 2014 season on April 8 against the Carolina Mudcats at 7:00 PM.
The Low-A affiliate will keep with the trend as they too will open their regular season on April 3, but will do so on the road as they will take on the hosting Asheville Tourists at 7:05 PM. After a seven game road trip, the Shorebirds will come home for the first time of the season and will host the Greensboro Grasshoppers at 7:05 PM on April 10.
The unique Short-Season A affiliate of the Orioles do not begin play until June, but when they do so they will be defending their New York-Penn League McNamara Division title as the team earned its first division title in 2013. The Ironbirds will open their 2014 season on the road as they take on the hosting Hudson Valley Renegades on June 13, time yet to be determined. Aberdeen will open up their home portion of the schedule a week later on June 20 against the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Gulf Coast League Orioles, Dominican Summer League Orioles1 and Orioles2
The Orioles affiliate in the Gulf Coast League and their two affiliates in the Dominican Summer League have not yet released their schedules for the 2014 season, but all three will likely open their seasons in June and is often home to several of the team's draft picks from the previous year as well as the current year.
So there you have it, the first home and away games for all the Orioles affiliates in 2014 in one place. Again, if you haven't experienced a Minor League game before, it really is something that every baseball fan should do at least once. There will be a slew of prospects at each of the affiliates that will be worth watching in 2014, and you never know when you could be looking at the next Manny Machado.
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