Dream Week Brings Major Fans to the Major Leagues



A group of tried and true Orioles fans from all over the country will be flying in for a week of to play ball, wood bats and all, and live out their fantasy of being a Major League player at the team’s 2019 Dream Week. Campers will receive coaching by a MLB dream team of 28 former Baltimore Orioles players—including legends Don Buford, Al Bumbry, Rick Dempsey, Mike Devereaux, Jim Gentile, Ross Grimsley, Chris Hoiles, Scott McGregor, Gregg Olson and many others. Additionally, special guests and Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer are scheduled to come for a Q&A session, autographs and photos.  “For a lot of people, this is a bucket-lister,” Media Manager Bill Stetka puts simply.

Starting Sunday, Dream Week will commence with the full Major League treatment, including beachfront accommodations at Lido Beach Resort and daily breakfast and lunch served in the clubhouse. Participants receive two full uniforms, one home and one road jersey—personalized with their chosen number and their name on back. Campers’ also receive their own clubhouse locker as well as a photo session to pose for their own set of baseball cards. Athletic trainers will be on site to work out aches and pains each day, and full clubhouse staff on hand to clean the campers’ uniforms everyday and hang them back in their lockers pressed for the next day. “We try to make it an experience as much like the big leagues as possible,” says Stetka.

Of the 120 campers, there are 80 veterans and 40 rookies coming for the first time. “It’s really grown,” Stetka says. “We’ve sold out the last three years.” And this year’s no exception, with participants hailing from 15 different states. “Our oldest participant is 84 years old," says Stetka, "and he’s back for his third year in a row.”

Wednesday night marks the annual barbeque, catered by Alday’s, at Ed Smith Stadium, where the Orioles hold Major League Spring Training. Campers will take a tour of the field, the facilities and the clubhouse, where the pros will be around for autographs and to hang out. “I always tell them to make sure to get to know the guys, listen to their stories,” Stetka says. “The pros are very accommodating. Many of them have even formed life-long friendships with the veteran campers and talk to them regularly via email or phone. It becomes a bond.” 

Throughout the week, campers will play daily double header intrasquad games at the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park. Friday morning, things get interesting when the Oriole campers are scheduled to play against the Pittsburgh Pirates campers, whose own fantasy camp will be in full effect. “We have history with the Pirates because we lost to them twice in the World Series in ‘71 and ‘79," says Stetka, "so there’s some of that fun competitive rivalry."

Quite possibly the most exciting inclusion in the camp package—participants will be flown up to Baltimore to play a reunion game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards during the 2019 regular season. “Every year we try to add a little more here and there,” Stetka says. “We’ve got some ideas in the works that hopefully in the next two years we can implement to spice it up even more.”

Photo provided by Baltimore Orioles from last year's camp of Hall of Famer pitcher Jim Palmer (22 in orange jersey) with the Davis family, a father and his two sons who came to camp together.

Dream Week 2019

« View The Tuesday Jan 22, 2019 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Other Articles in Recreation/Sports

Jul 2, 2019Phil Lederer

Better Than Bowling