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Baysox Beginnings


The Bowie Baysox operation has notched many wins over the years. Two Eastern League Executive of the Year honors. Hosts for The Double-A (2000) and Eastern League All-Star Games (2004). The Bob Freitas Award for Excellence. Three "Excellence in Print" first place awards, and in 2015, the team's first ever EASTERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP!

It's hard to believe it all began with a loss.

In 1991, the Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership, then owners of the Class AA Hagerstown Suns and the Class A Frederick Keys, 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 Triple-A 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 Double-A 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.

One of the first steps, of course, was to give the team a name, and the front office recruited the community for help.

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 their way.

But, following a multi-level judging process that included the front office staff and the Bowie City Council, "Baysox" was at long last selected over "Baybirds" and "Nationals," the other two finalists. The seven fans that had suggested any one of the three were awarded lifetime season tickets.

"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 and gearing up for that initial campaign, a complex land deal that needed to occur before the stadium construction could get underway hit a major snag. Through November and into the holidays, 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.