Salisbury, Md. - The Delmarva Shorebirds, the class "A" affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, have stacked the 2011 schedule with a wide variety of giveaways for fans of all ages. In total, the Shorebirds will be giving away premium items at the gates on 11 nights during the 2011 season. For the first time ever, the Shorebirds have organized a series of five collectable t-shirt giveaways featuring five of the best players in the history of the franchise; Ryan Minor (April 28), Brian Roberts (May 26), Nick Markakis (June 30), Jayson Werth (July 28) and Orlando Cabrera (August 25). The Shorebirds have also planned a figurine for Orioles top prospect, Manny Machado, who was selected with the third overall pick in the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft.
The giveaway schedule starts on opening night, April 7, when all fans in attendance will receive the official 2011 Shorebirds magnet schedule sponsored by Fulton Bank. The magnet schedule features the entire 2011 home and road schedule for the Shorebirds.
To keep warm during the cool part of baseball season, the Shorebirds will give away a blanket featuring the Shorebirds bird logo to the first 1,000 fans on May 13. The blanket is sponsored by Holloway Tours.
The Shorebirds have planned five t-shirt giveaways throughout the season sponsored by Courtesy Chevrolet. The first t-shirt giveaway is scheduled for April 28 and the shirt features manager Ryan Minor. The rest of the t-shirt giveaway schedule includes: Brian Roberts (May 26), Nick Markakis (June 30), Jayson Werth (July 28) and Orlando Cabrera (August 25). Each t-shirt will have "Shorebirds" across the front with the players last name emblazoned on the back with the number he wore while playing in Delmarva. The first 500 fans will receive t-shirts on the five nights.
- Minor, the current manager of the Shorebirds, starred for the 'Birds during their championship run in 1997. He was named to the SAL All-Star team and pieced together one of the greatest offensive seasons in franchise history, batting .307 with 24 home runs and 97 RBIs. Minor holds the franchise record for doubles with 42.
- Roberts, the current second baseman for the Orioles, played in 47 games for the Delmarva Shorebirds in 1999. He hit .240 with 21 RBIs. The 2011 season marks his 11th year in the major leagues, all spent with the Baltimore Orioles. Roberts has accumulated over 1,000 hits, over 400 RBIs and over 80 home runs. He was selected to the AL All-Star team in 2005 and 2007.
- Markakis, the current right fielder for the Orioles, played in 96 games for the Shorebirds in 2004. He batted .299 with 11 home runs and 64 RBIs. Since his time on Delmarva, Markakis has blossomed into a star at the major league level. He will enter his sixth season with the Baltimore Orioles in 2011. Through five big league seasons, he has a lifetime batting average of .298 with 89 home runs and 422 RBIs.
- Werth, the current right fielder for the Nationals, played for the 81-win Shorebirds in 1998. In 120 games, he hit .265 with eight home runs and 53 RBIs. In 2008, Werth helped the Philadelphia Phillies capture their first world series title in 28 years. Last year, Werth hit 27 home runs for the Phillies to increase his career total to 120.
- Cabrera, currently with the Reds, played for the Shorebirds during the inaugural season in 1996. In 134 games, Cabrera batted .252 with a team best 14 home runs. Sixteen years later, he is still playing in the major leagues. In 14 big league seasons, Cabrera has played in 1,855 games and accumulated 1,948 hits, and 803 RBIs. He is a two-time gold glove recipient in 2001 and 2007.
On June 3, the Shorebirds will give the first 2,500 fans in attendance a Shorebirds logo car magnet. Show your support for the Shorebirds by placing the magnets on the back of your cars.
On June 10, the Shorebirds will give the first 1,000 fans in attendance a free team photo sponsored by the Delaware State Fair. The following night, June 11, the Delaware State Fair will be handing out free and discounted tickets to the upcoming fair.
The Shorebirds will unveil the first ever Manny Machado Bobblehead on July 1 to the first 1,000 fans. Machado is the top prospect in the Orioles organization according to Baseball America and the 24th best prospect in the minor leagues according to mlb.com. The 18-year old shortstop from Florida has drawn comparison to the likes of Alex Rodriguez. If Machado plays for the Shorebirds, as reported recently by the Daily Times, he would be the highest draft pick ever to suit up for the Shorebirds (third overall). Currently, Adam Loewen (4th overall in 2002) is the highest draft pick ever to play for the Shorebirds.
On July 15, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will be greeted with Shorebirds Tin Lunch Boxes sponsored by Dr. Susan Vickers. The lunch boxes feature the Shorebirds logo and action shots of players from the past.
The final giveaway planned is a Shorebirds Hat on September 2nd, which is NFL Night at Perdue Stadium. The Shorebirds will let the first 1,000 fans choose between a Shorebirds hat in Redskins, Ravens or Eagles colors. Fans are encouraged to choose the colored hat of their favorite team.
"Overall, I'm really pleased with the unique items that we have come up with this season," said Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters. "We feel like there is something in our giveaway schedule for every fan on the Eastern Shore."
The Shorebirds open the 2011 season with an exhibition game against Salisbury University on April 5 at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. Two days later, April 7, the Shorebirds play their first South Atlantic League game against the Greensboro Grasshoppers at Perdue Stadium.
To secure your seats for all the great giveaways, contact the Shorebirds by calling 410-219-3112 or visit us online at www.theshorebirds.com. Four ticket plans are currently available and each includes a ticket to the 2011 SAL "Strike Out Hunger" All-Star Game and the exhibition game against Salisbury University.
The Delmarva Shorebirds are the Class "A" Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Shorebirds are owned by 7th Inning Stretch, L.P., the same company that owns the Stockton Ports of the California League and the Everett AquaSox of the Northwest League. The Shorebirds are the proud hosts of the 2011 South Atlantic League "Strike Out Hunger" All-Star Game presented by Perdue. The game will be contested on June 21, 2011. For more information, call the Shorebirds at 410-219-3112.
The Shorebirds are celebrating 16-years of professional baseball on the Eastern Shore. During the 2009 season, the Shorebirds finished with an average attendance of 3,567 fans, the largest average since the 2002 season. In 2007, The Shorebirds had the top attendance based on market size in Minor League Baseball(tm), according to Sports Business Journal (Aug. 2008). In 2010, more than 6,000 fans packed Arthur W. Perdue Stadium nine times including a season high of 8,993 fans on August 7th.
The Shorebirds were established in 1996 by an investor team headed by legendary chicken company owner, the late Frank Perdue. The Shorebirds have called Arthur W. Perdue home ever since. For more information about the Delmarva Shorebirds call 410-219-3112 or visit www.theshorebirds.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.