Orioles Baseball Operations Center Readies for Spring

Baltimore Orioles' renovation of its Baseball Operations Center is nearly complete, readying for players to report this week.

When the Baltimore Orioles train in Sarasota, they'll be doing so in style at the team's new Baseball Operations Center. 

The 43,000-square-foot building is about one and a half times the size of the old building and features just about everything a pro ball player will need. It's located beside .

Hydrotherapy pools, hot and cold baths, a fully stocked kitchen, exercise room and more.

Throughout the operations center, there are touches of Orioles' history. They include retired numbers, such as one signed by Earl Weaver, logos, and images of Spring Training past in Miami and Daytona Beach and even the Arizona years. 

When the Orioles defeated the Cincinatti Reds for the 1970 World Series, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jim Murray wrote:

"Brooks Robinson kept reaching in and removing vital parts of the Big Red Machine. He systematically dismantled it."

The same could be said for the Orioles' renovation for the baseball operations center that once housed the Reds — every part of the Big Red Machine is gone.

Finishing touches are still being placed on the building as Lowe's even showed up to deliver a refrigerator days before the full Spring Training roster will report. 

The rest of the position players report to Sarasota on Thursday and will take the practice fields on Friday. 

The center still has that new smell to it, and inside the medical facilities, a new doctor's office scent, too.

Richie Bancells, head athletic trainer explained that the pools and baths in the rehab area serve different purposes. One bath is for relaxing extremities, another for the whole body, and the Hydroworx pools serve as good rehabilitation pools to help players recover from injury. 

"Water is the perfect isokinetic device in terms of resistance," Bancells said. "If you ever moved around in a pool there's two things about it: the resistance is equal throughout the entire range of motion unlike using a dumb bell where that resistance actually changes in terms of forces."

The other feature is the harder you push water, the harder the resistance is, he said.

In the weight room, players have open views of the practice fields with retractable glass garage doors while they lift weights on an air compressed Kaiser system, do yoga, or produce some energy on Wattbikes, that actually produce energy during cycling. 

Strength and conditioning coach Joseph Hogarty said the focus on the room is to have a wide open area for players to move around. And they think that's accomplished in the 5,000 square-foot room.

Players like Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts and former O's who are helping out in the weight room, particularly Brady Anderson, all gave input on what they're looking for in a weight room.

"Brady Anderson, with some of his background in performance training, I think that's where the theme of this training room comes," Hogarty said. "I think we want guys to be training as the sport demands — to be powerful, to be explosive, to be dynamic."

The O's even stole an idea from college libraries and the Baltimore Ravens using a custom made sliding bookcase system to store equipment, jerseys and bubblegum.

"We just copied after them and made them for baseball instead of football,"equipment manager Fred Tyler said. 

Here is a rundown of what's inside the new Baseball Operations Center, courtesy of the Orioles: 

By The Numbers

24,635 square feet — existing first floor

5,277 square feet — existing second floor

29,852 square feet — size of original baseball administration building

36,722 square feet — new first floor

6,344 square feet — new second floor

43,066 square feet — total size of renovated and new construction of Baseball Operations Center

5 miles — total length of data cable installed

First Floor

• Strength and Conditioning room with 5,000 square feet and glass garage doors that open to practice fields

• Athletic training room with three Hydroworx hydrotherapy pools, that holds more than 11,000 gallons of water plus hot and cold plunge pools

• Equipment storage room with lockable high density storage system

• Major League Clubhouse with 60 lockers in 3,700 square feet 

• Auxiliary Clubhouse with 45 lockers in 2,100 square feet 

• Two coaches' locker rooms. coaches' meeting room and manager's office with showers and dressing areas

• Team preparation room featuring 50 seats and a projector and white board

• Dining room with 70 seats and an outdoor earea

• Full-service kitchen at 4,200 square feet

• Media work room with 50 seats

• Video production room that can also be used for press conferences

• Umpire lockers and showers

• Reception and welcome area 

Second Floor

• Offices for baseball operations, public relations and community relations personnel

• Meeting room with capability to hold press conference

• Secondary clubhouse with about 20 lockers

• Reception area

Outdoor Practice Fields

• Four covered batting tunnels with new lighting, new artificial turf flooring and new windscreen on side panels

• Nine new pitching mounds

• Three full-size practice fields, including one with the dimensions of Oriole Park at Camden Yards

• Newly constructed batters eye wall

• One Conditioning field with an Astroturf infield

• Protective netting along Tuttle Avenue to avoid home runs hitting cars

• Landscaping to provide shade

• New grounds crew area with field equipment storage


• Hunt Construction with Gilbane

• 26 subcontractors 

• 15 subcontractors were local, performing 65 percent of the work

• 60,000 hours of work with no accidents from June 2011 to February 2012

• Architect of Record: Hoyt Architects

• Master Planner and Design Architect: David M. Schwarz Architects

Ted Reich February 23, 2012 at 04:39 PM
So, how about a story on the stadium renovations and improvements.


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