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Monday, May 20, 2024

Norfolk Tides Open 2024 Season, Hopes High for Back to Back Championship

Triple A baseball returns to Norfolk as the Tides kick off their 2024 campaign. (Norfolk Tides)

NORFOLK — The Norfolk Tides open the 2024 season tonight at Harbor Park, looking to defend its Triple-A National Championship title starting with the Durham Bulls on March 29, 30, and 31.

2023 season

The Tides had a lot to celebrate in 2023. In addition to winning the Triple-A National Championship title, the team set a record for the most wins in Triple-A franchise history with a 90-59 record. The team won the first half of the season with a 48-26 record which earned them the opportunity to host the International League Championship series at Harbor Park in late September (Since 2023, the International League has operated under a split season format with the winners of each half meeting in best-of-three series to determine the league champions).

While the team had much to celebrate, so did Tides Manager Buck Britton, who was named the International League Manager of the Year. He is now the sixth manager to win the award for the franchise. With two years under his belt as the skipper, Britton has amassed a 164-135 record.

“This season was exceptional, thanks to the Orioles, our front office, our game day staff and especially our fans. Not only did they support this special team all year, they came out in great numbers for our three playoff games at Harbor Park. Fans were energized and focused on every pitch, lifting our team to an International League Championship. That sparked momentum to win our team’s second-ever Triple-A National Championship. We can’t thank our fans and staff enough for making this season one that all of us won’t forget,” Ken Young, then Norfolk Tides president, said after winning the championship.

The minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, the Tides watched as their parent organization clinched the best record in the American League and earned themselves a bye from the Wild Card series in the MLB.

Promotions

In keeping with the theme of celebrating the National Championship, the Tides will gear many of their promotions around the 2023 team. On March 29, fans will receive a 2024 Norfolk Tides magnet schedule. Fans are also encouraged to get to the game early to see a tribute video and look back at the 2023 season.

The Norfolk Tides schedule magnet will be released on March 29. (Norfolk Tides promotions)

Championship-related events and giveaways are planned for the remainder of the season. On July 19, fans will receive a championship trophy snow globe. On Aug. 9, fans in attendance will receive a replica championship ring.

“We have so many promotions that we bring back on a yearly basis that our fans look forward to,” Mike Watkins, Assistant General Manager of Sales, Marketing, and Fan Experience, said. “We’re really looking forward to celebrating last year in a big way.”

The Tides are also working on planning a special ring ceremony where members of the championship-winning squad will receive their championship rings in style.

Back by popular demand, every Saturday night (except April 13) will be Fireworks night. There are also themed military appreciation nights, Virginia Beach night, youth jersey night, Star Wars night, heritage nights, a Pride night, and Bark in the Park events.

On July 21, the Tides will host a ladies networking event.

“It’s a great opportunity for local young professionals and professionals to come out, learn more about the game, and network with each other. It’s a growing initiative across the sport to make sure that the game of baseball is being inclusive. We really want to be inclusive and promote that we want everyone to be able to come to Harbor Park and have a good time,” Watkins said.

The full promotional schedule can be found here.

2024 season

The Tides open up the season against the Durham Bulls for a three-game homestand. They will complete their first road trip of the season following with a six-game stint in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Tides will welcome the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Railriders to Harbor Park on April 9 and the Gwinnett Stripers on April 23.

May will begin with a road trip to Nashville and Memphis before the Tides return home for a six-game homestand against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The team then heads back out on the road to face Worcester and ends the month with another visit from the Stripers.

In June, the Tides will visit Scranton-Wilkes Barre before kicking off another six-game homestand against the Memphis Redbirds. The team then heads back out on the road, again to Lehigh Valley, before ending the month with a visit from the Charlotte Knights.

July kicks off with a split series with three home games against the Durham Bulls before the team travels to Raleigh to end the series. Another six-game road trip at Memphis takes place before Nashville Sounds and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp come to Norfolk.

Tides fans remain at the forefront of the baseball team. (Norfolk Tides)

The Tides will begin August on the road against Charlotte but will come home for a six-game series against the Durham Bulls. Another away series follows, with a trip to the Gwinnett Stripers. The Worcester Red Sox will visit the Tides towards the end of the month. The Tides will then head to Jacksonville for a six-game road stint.

September sees action from the Charlotte Knights at Harbor Park. The final road game of the season takes place in Durham during mid-September and then the Tides will close it out at home against the Nashville Sounds.

As the season begins, Tides staff is excited to continue engaging with their fans.

“It’s really exciting, more than half the players entering this year were on our championship team last season. Plus we have new upgrades at Harbor Park, including added in-game technology and fresh renovations. Most of all, the unwavering support of our fans has been an integral part of the success of this franchise and it energized our championship run last season. It’s the fan interactions that make Harbor Park a special place for all of us. With an improved ballpark environment plus one of the most talented rosters in Minor League Baseball, we hope it fuels a repeat championship season,” Joe Gregory, Tides General Manager, said.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit milb.com/norfolk.

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