BALTIMORE -- Mark the date. The Orioles announced that they would hold their annual FanFest event at Camden Yards on April 4, following the same format as the past two seasons. Baltimore will hold court on its own field, staging a workout and allowing the local fans to see the players right before they take their first official swings of the regular season.
The Orioles used to hold the event in the cavernous Baltimore Convention Center, but scheduling concerns forced them to switch it to their stadium two years ago. That design worked to great effect, and the Orioles decided to keep doing it the same way. Namely, that means staging a workout and letting everything else revolve around the field.
FanFest will start at 10:30 a.m. ET, but season-ticket holders will be allowed to enter at 9 a.m. to get an early start on the festivities. Andy MacPhail, the team's president of baseball operations, and manager Dave Trembley will meet the season-plan holders at 9:45 for a "State of the Orioles" question-and-answer session, kicking off the day's events.
Once the gates open to the rest of the public, the fans will be encouraged to sit in the box seats and watch their favorite players prepare for that night's exhibition game against the Nationals in Washington.
There will be a two-hour autograph session at one point, and a full-squad workout on the field. Local broadcasters will also conduct on-field interviews with players and coaches that will be broadcast throughout the park.
Other FanFest attractions include fan forums, autograph sessions with former Orioles and interactive games including speed pitch and batting cages for kids. Children will also be able to take photographs with the Oriole Bird.
And after that, there will be nothing left to do but play baseball. Baltimore will play a final exhibition game that night and will hold a workout on April 5, before beginning the regular season Monday against the Yankees.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.