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Official Review by Jason Bullock, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
In 2011, George Washington University finished renovations on the home of their basketball team, the Charles E. Smith Center. Later that year, they got to work on Baseball Field #6, more commonly known as Barcroft Park.
Barcroft has been home to the Colonials since 1993, and had deteriorated over the years. The playing field was well-worn, dugouts were small, bleacher seats were limited and there were no concessions or public restrooms. When an agreement was reached with the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department, all that was about to change.
Ground broke in December of 2011 and a rebirth of Barcroft Park was underway. What used to to be a ballpark that was below the standard of a lot of high schools is now another point of pride for GW Athletics. A beautiful new turf field, a seating capacity of 500, enlarged dugouts, concessions and restrooms are just a few of the pieces of the transformation that has occurred. And just to make sure you don’t forget where you are, the GW logo is everywhere in Barcroft - the entry plaza, on the field behind home plate, in center field, the dugouts - and the Colonials are rightfully proud of their new home.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
After you enter through the main gate on a typical game day at Barcroft Park, you will be greeted by the welcoming scent of a backyard barbecue. You won't find your main dish wrapped in foil sitting in a warmer here - burgers, hot dogs and and half-smokes are all cooked fresh on the grill right in front of you. I recommend the pretzel dog, as it is only a dollar more than the regular hot dog and is served on an awesome pretzel roll. Trust me, you won't be sorry. While most items are fairly priced, the hamburger for $7 is a little on the high side.
Soft pretzels, nachos, popcorn and peanuts are the available salty snacks, and you will find a good variety of candy, cookies and ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth. Coca-Cola products, water and Gatorade are served in bottles for $3.
Credit cards and cash are both accepted as forms of payment, and the staff is friendly and efficient. The only thing missing from the menu is a chicken or turkey option, for those that aren't really into beef. Add that variety, and you have a five-star category here.
Being newly renovated, you get a modern feel when approaching the main gate at Barcroft Park. Getting through the main gate is a breeze, and it appears they have a pretty liberal re-entry policy, as long as you have your stub. To access the main grandstand, you will need to walk up a set of steps on either the first or third base side.
The seating bowl runs from dugout to dugout and is all protected by the screen behind home plate. With a compact seating area, I didn't find any spots that I coveted more than others, as every seat offered me a decent view of the field. The seats are all aluminum bench-style, but do offer back support, which I appreciated. The stadium faces north to south, so if you are looking for a shady spot on a sunny day you will not find one here. It does get hot with the sun reflecting off of the seats, so some protection may be in order if you are sensitive to the sun.
All seats are general admission, and the home team resides in the third base dugout, so you will find most of the visiting fans sitting on the other side of the park. There are some areas between the dugouts and the bullpens where fans can stand and watch the game at field level, but I didn't find those to provide a great view of what was happening on the field.
There are PA speakers that are located on the press box that is directly behind the stands. At times, the volume of music is a minor annoyance, especially if you're sitting directly in front of the speakers. I found myself having to talk loud at times, especially during pre-game warmups. Overall, sound quality is good, and the announcer does a fine job of announcing players and keeping between-inning announcements to a minimum.
There is a scoreboard located beyond the right field fence that contains the basic information. One thing I noticed was that the 'AB' function was never used. Depending on where you are sitting, you may not see the number on the jersey of the batter, and if you are keeping score, this may be something you find beneficial. This was not a deal-breaker for me, but I just found it odd that I didn't see it utilized.
The home of the Colonials is nestled in a mostly residential area in northern Virginia. The stadium is part of a larger park that includes basketball, handball and tennis courts, along with a walking/running trail. If you're looking for a bite to eat after the game, head over to one of the original Five Guys restaurants, about 1 ˝ miles away on King Street.
If you're coming in from out of town, I would recommend staying in a hotel in Old Town Alexandria, which is about a 15 minute drive from the stadium. Staying here will have you close to shopping and restaurants, as well as within walking distance of the Metro (the DC area subway system). Utilizing Metro is a much easier way to see the sights of the city without having to fight the traffic or find a reasonably priced parking spot.
You will find a solid fan base for the Colonials at their home games. GW typically draws anywhere from 150-300 fans for a game and the games I attended had a good level of support for the home team. There are no special chants or cheers that you need to come prepared for, but the crowd does appreciate and acknowledge good play. One game I attended featured a pretty nice-sized following for the opposing team, and the Colonial fans were very respectful to their guests.
Barcroft Park is located in Arlington, VA, about seven miles from the campus of GW. The park complex is easily accessible off of I-395, using either the Glebe Rd. or King St. exits. You will find the parking lot on the first base side of the stadium and it is located very close to the park, so if you are worried about a foul ball finding your windshield, there is another parking lot located right down the street that will offer you more peace of mind.
If you need accessible seating, keep going straight ahead as you enter the main gate and you will see a ramp that will take you to the lowest level seating in the park.
Restrooms are located directly behind the snack bar (close to the main gate) and are clean and sufficient in size.
A general admission ticket is $6 and parking is free. Add a hot dog, soda and ice cream to that and you have a spring day at a cozy little ballpark watching Division I baseball for $15, which is a pretty good investment.
For all home games, dogs are allowed in the ballpark as long as they are on a leash.
The gate and concession staff are all very friendly and answered all of my questions with a smile. Don't forget to pick up a stat sheet at the front gate when you come in!
While the Colonials haven't posted a winning record in almost a decade, their newly renovated home is a winner in my book. If you like small college ballparks that have a modern feel, Barcroft Park will fit the bill.
Member Review by senorr on Dec 17, 2013
I have played on this field and it's really nice. Attending games is fun too as you are right on top of the action and it's cheap. GW baseball isn't the highest quality but it is still a quite casual, intimate atmosphere.
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