Bowie Baysox Tickets
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For many years, the Orioles' AA affiliate was located in Hagerstown, Maryland and called the Suns. When Major League Baseball added two teams in 1993, bids were offered for two new triple-A franchises, and the Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership got into the running to put one of the new franchises in central Maryland. Their idea of having a team in Bowie was so well-received, that the MBLP decided to move the double-A team across the state from Hagerstown. The Suns, meanwhile, were dropped to single-A status.
The Bowie Baysox is a minor league baseball team located in Bowie, Maryland. They are the class-AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, and play in the Eastern League. The team's home ballpark is Prince George's Stadium.
A contest was held among the community to choose a new name for the team, and over 3500 suggestions poured in. Baysox was chosen over the other finalists. The Bay references are to the Chesapeake Bay, which lies less than 20 miles to the east of Bowie. After two losing seasons, the Baysox made it back to the playoffs in 1997, and were also named the top double-A franchise in America, because of their tremendous attendance figures despite their proximity to the Baltimore major-league market. The Bob Freitas Award is given annually by Baseball America to the top franchise in each classification. The same year, the team introduced Louie, its green furry mascot.
The Baysox have had a long playoff drought, and went six straight seasons (1998 to 2003) without posting a winning record. In 2005 the team was in contention for the last playoff spot at the end of the season, but lost four straight games to Altoona on the final weekend to just miss the postseason once again.
It's hard to believe it all began with a loss. Finally League Executive of the Year was honored in the AA All-Star Game. The Bob Freitas was awarded for Excellence. Three Excellence in Print first place awards also became the part of their endeavors.
In 1991, the Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership sought to expand their presence in the Baltimore Orioles farm system within the Free State. Major League Baseball was expanding in 1993 with the arrivals of the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies, and, in accordance, the AAA ranks would be expanding as well.
Coming on the heels of tremendous success with the Keys in a new state-of-the-art facility in Frederick, MBLP looked not only to repeat that booming enterprise, but to build upon it by putting a team into Central Maryland, long known as a hotbed for baseball talent and interest. After meeting with civic leaders and exploring possible scenarios, the partners focused on one, a plot of land located just to the south of the US 50-US 301 interchange, just outside of Bowie. A plan was formulated, and Bowie, MD jumped into the fray with a number of other locales around North America.
Bowie survived the first cut, joining Birmingham, Jacksonville and eventual winners Ottawa and Charlotte in the hunt. Despite the proximity to two major airports and the promise of the lucrative Baltimore-Washington corridor, Maryland Baseball fell short on its AAA bid.
However, the dream of moving a team into the area did not die. The following winter, Maryland Baseball rekindled the negotiations with various parties involved in the Bowie site, with the idea of building the same stadium, only with the thought of shifting the AA team from Western Maryland. So confident were the partners that this, or one of two backup plans, would work, that they announced an end to the Eastern League era in Hagerstown.
By summer's end, the Bowie situation appeared to be a go, offices were opened in Prince George's County and the franchise began to prepare for its first season. More than 1,100 fans responded with approximately 3,500 suggestions to name the new team that would move into the area. Bowie's team could have been the P'Tooies, Cosmic Crabs, Bugtussels, Bulldozers or Bureaucrats if some of the locals had had their way.
It was a tough choice, said the team's first general manager, Keith Lupton, after Baysox was chosen. We had so many great names to choose from. Somehow, Baysox hit us just right.
In the process of naming the team, the team's emphasis shifted from preparation for that first season to a scramble for an alternative site to play the games. Finally, in late January, the parent Baltimore Orioles and the City of Baltimore came to the rescue, offering the vacant, but still grand, Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street. A deal was consummated.