Summer At The Yard Series: The Delmarva Shorebirds

| July 21, 2017

If you’re from Maryland, chances are that you have found yourself spending a week in Ocean City. You enjoy the soothing waves of the Atlantic morning, noon and night. You remember the care free days of years past the moment you see the lights of the boardwalk. You may have even won the family putt-putt competition. Undoubtedly, you’ve been excited as you drive off of the Route 50 Express way and Purdue Stadium, home of the Delmarva Shorebirds, appears on your right. Many of you see this as a sign that the 9-5 grind of your work week is officially behind you, and your vacation is only 30 minutes away. I’m here to tell you that the Baltimore Orioles single-A team should become a part of your yearly tradition.

The staff at Purdue Stadium preps for the waiting fans.

Founded in 1996, The Shorebirds have been a welcome addition to the eastern shore and have given that same affection right back to the community. “We believe in giving back and being actively engaged, it’s our top priority,” said Chris Bitters, General Manager of the Shorebirds since 2006, “we are nothing without the community.” That culture is seen at every level of the organization.

When you first walk into the entrance of the stadium, you’ll see the open doors of the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame. Honored there are eastern shore native players like Harold Baines. In fact, if any eastern shore native plays in even one Major League game, he is automatically inducted.

After you walk up the steps to the main concourse of the stadium, it is impossible to miss the banners of premier MLB players that have donned the Shorebird jersey. Manny Machado and Zack Britton are easily seen, as well as Nick Markakis and Washington Nationals outfielder Jason Werth. Straight ahead you’ll see the brand new 36×20 feet, Daktronics video board in center field.

The brand new Daktronics video board in center field.

Also, if you’ve been to see the Shorebirds before, you may notice that there are brand new, cushioned seats all around the concourse replacing the old bleachers.

To your right, you can find Keith Messick and the Shorebird Fan Club. An independent group, the Shorebird Fan Club raises funds to help keep the young players supplied with all of the important necessities such as seeds and bubblegum. According to Messick, the team eats about a half a tub or 180 pieces per game. You’ll also see the picnic area that can be used for larger groups which is  catered with classic baseball Fanfare. To your left, the kid’s entertainment area featuring a carousel and place for children to show off their fastball.

You may also notice Cindy Horner from Salisbury. A season ticket holder for the last three years, Horner, and her husband are prime examples of how the team and community are so intertwined. Her husband takes photos of all of the players during home games throughout the season. He and Cindy then present the players and their families with the photos at the end of the season.

Fans wait for autographs from future Orioles

The players are so appreciative of the Horner’s that they brought her a birthday cake to her seat. She hasn’t missed an inning since getting her season tickets, and the relationship that the team has with the fan base is a huge reason. “It’s all about the interactions with the players,” says Horner.

The impact of the Shorebirds doesn’t stop with fan interactions. They work hard to be active in the community they call home. During the year, the Shorebirds promote reading throughout the community with the Summer Library Reading Program and the Hit the Books Campaign. Roughly 7 thousand elementary and middle school students take part in a

The Executive Club is available for corporate events

pledge to read four books that are not part of their curriculum and the Shorebirds give them complimentary tickets. Almost 105 schools take part in the initiatives. The Fly Together Fund, which acts as the charitable arm of the Shorebirds, allows the Delmarva Shorebirds to participate and contribute to  events and organizations including United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, Mindfully Anchored, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ronald McDonald House, Relay for Life, American Cancer Society, Local Little Leagues and Softball Programs and their Hit the Books Program.

Along with player interactions throughout the season, countless events, and fundraisers held throughout the area, there are also promotions geared at giving local and visiting fans alike the best baseball experience possible. Every Sunday home game is highlighted by kids being allowed to run the bases, just like at Camden Yards. This season has seen multiple Orioles featured on bobble head giveaways including Britton and Machado.

The carousel highlights the kids play-area on the left field side

On August 11th, the team will be giving away bobble heads of Sherman the mascot, and on the first of September, the Jonathan Schoop bobble head. Every Saturday home game is highlighted by a postgame fireworks show. If you have a large family, Monday night is $2 ticket night. Spending the week with friends? Check out Thirsty Thursdays at

Head to the Hot Corner Grill on “Thirsty Thursday” for $6 32.oz beers.

Perdue Stadium where you can get a 32 oz. beer for $6.

General Manager Chris Bitters and his staff have worked very hard to provide fans from near and far a truly unique baseball experience. A night with the Shorebirds is “A great option for family nights out to see the future of Orioles baseball,” says Bitters, “there is something for everyone.”

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Category: Entertainment, Just For Fun, LIFE IN THE AREA, Post To FB, Sports

About the Author ()

Kevin Chaney was born and raised in Pasadena, MD. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 2007 and served on board the USS Nimitz until 2012. He is now attending the University of Maryland. Follow him on his blog at http://kchaneyreporting.wixsite.com/sports