A sold-out crowd of 600 baseball fans from the business community jammed into the ballroom of the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel to show their support for the Baltimore Orioles and celebrate the 2013 baseball season at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s 34th annual Lunch with the Orioles on April 15.
Fans at the luncheon welcomed back manager Buck Showalter and Orioles players and coaches, all of whom will dined at audience tables.
The noon program was preceded by an autograph signing session. Luncheon guests received Orioles souvenir bags. Following lunch, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and Showalter talked about this year’s team and their expectations for this year. Both said while last year was a success that they are proud of, 2013 is a new year and one they are focused on being successful in. Showalter said it is not all about just beating the Yankees and the Red Sox. He thinks people should be talking about the Orioles.
The Greater Baltimore Committee, the most prominent organization of Baltimore-region business and civic leaders, held its first “Lunch with the Orioles” in 1979 to show business support for the team after the Orioles were bought by Washington D.C. attorney Edward Bennett Williams.
The popular annual luncheon has continued as a way to demonstrate strong support for the Orioles and majority owner Peter G. Angelos, who purchased the team in 1993.
The history of GBC’s role in keeping the Orioles in Baltimore and in building Oriole Park at Camden Yards is well documented.
In 1979 the GBC, Mayor William Donald Schaefer and the Orioles coordinated the creation of a volunteer sales force, known as the “Designated Hitters,” to promote season ticket sales. That joint effort doubled the advance season ticket sales for the 1980 season.
In 1987, the GBC led business efforts to win legislative approval for construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and played a critical role in lease negotiations between the Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority that kept the team in Baltimore.
Photos by Harry Bosk
To see more photos from the event, visit the GBC’s Facebook page.