BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baseball and business. The two came together in Baltimore on Monday. It was the 35th Annual Lunch with the Orioles, and this year it was more crowded than ever.

Mary Bubala reports Orioles manager Buck Showalter was the first out and to his table.

A sold-out crowd of 600 baseball fans from the region’s business community jammed into the Sheraton downtown for the annual Lunch with the Orioles.

Adam Jones received the loudest applause, but the entire team was there with a player at each table.

“It’s exciting to see young guys out in the community and on their day off come out to sign autographs,” said Craig Blinke, lunch attendee. “It’s great.”

Organizers say this by far is the largest crowd they’ve ever had.

The Greater Baltimore Committee or GBC has held this Orioles lunch since 1979.

“This is a way that we can recognize the Orioles, thank them for what they do for the city of Baltimore, for the region and the vibrancy that they bring to us,” said Don Fry, GBC president and CEO.

The afternoon starts with an autograph session.

“I like Chen’s. He actually signed it in Chinese, which I thought was pretty cool,” said Mike Kelley, lunch attendee.

“It’s just a great opportunity to come and meet baseball players and show our support. We love it It’s a great event,” said Laura Carotenuto, lunch attendee.

“I just have a baseball and I got a couple of the old Orioles that I remember watching when I was younger, so it was a great experience,” said Devin Johnson, lunch attendee.

Players current and past say it’s a great way to connect with fans.

The event wasn’t this crowded last year. People are loving the O’s right now.

“Well they are, I mean the ball club has really turned the corner, and I think they are going to be a lot like it used to be in my day,” said Rick Dempsey, former Orioles player.

“I’m looking forward to meeting every person who’s in line right now. I don’t know how long it takes,” said T.J. McFarland, Orioles pitcher.

If you’d like to go to the lunch with the Orioles next year, tell your boss.  Tables of 10 start at $750.

Luncheon guests received Orioles souvenir bags.


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