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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The second oldest Catholic university in the United States (Georgetown University is the oldest), Mount St. Mary's University, is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In fact “The Mount” is the oldest independent Catholic institution of higher learning in the country, having started in 1808. Approximately 2,250 students attend the university.
Located in a semi-mountainous area of Frederick County, Maryland just south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Mount St. Mary's sits on 1,400 acres at the base of the Catoctin Mountains. No wonder the school adopted the Mountaineers moniker for their sports teams.
Basketball is one of the biggest sports at the college in terms of success. Baseball has had a bit less success. A 2008 appearance in the NCAA Tournament has been a nice exception. They currently play in the the Northeast Conference.
Mount St. Mary's has had some success in other sports, most notably track. In the 1988 Olympic Games, Mount St. Mary's athlete Peter Rono won gold in the 1500 meters run.
Babe Ruth was even discovered here on campus, as his Mary's Industrial School for Boys of Baltimore played a game here in Emmitsburg, which was noticed by a scout from the then minor league Baltimore Orioles.
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There are no food options at E.T. Straw Family Stadium. Make sure you bring your own. You can usually find the back door open to the Knott Arena, where there are a few soda and snack machines available. That is a short walk away.
The athletic complexes for the university are known as the PNC Sports Complex. Most are located just off a road that leads directly behind the Knott Arena building. E.T. Straw Family Stadium and the Our Lady Of The Meadows Field softball stadium are the first ones you will run into.
This a pretty simple northeastern college baseball stadium. Metal stands run from dugout to dugout. There will be many fans that watch from the hill running along the third base side. There is also a PA system with an announcer and music is played between at bats.
Free programs are placed in a small mailbox located at the top of the grandstand.
There is a very simple scoreboard located in right center. It basically tells you the strikes, balls and runs. Do not expect to get more info than that from the board.
There is nothing within walking distance to the campus. You will need to make a short drive into town to find any food or drink options. Emmitsburg is a pretty small town, but does have some interesting places that draw people to the area, besides just the university. The town is the home of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, National Emergency Training Center, and Emergency Management Institute.
Also in the immediate area are some very notable Catholic attractions. It is a Catholic pilgrimage site and is the location of the Basilica and National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton as well as the site of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. A trip to the area demands a visit to the grotto even if you are not religious. It would be hard not to be impressed with the quiet awesomeness found here.
Nearby Thurmont also has some attractions of its own, including Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park, which contains the presidential retreat of Camp David. Just note if you are hiking in the woods and see signs to turn around or be shot, these are not jokes.
Frederick is about 30 miles away, while Baltimore (60 miles) and Washington, DC (70 miles) are the closest large cities.
Back in Emmitsburg, the best food option is the The Ott House Pub in downtown. This bar and restaurant is a great mix of locals, firefighters, and university students. The food menu will not blow you away but their wings, as well as their hot roast beef sandwich, will certainly hit the spot. Check to see if they have a local beer from Flying Dog Brewery on tap.
Gettysburg is 13 miles north. If you have time to visit the massive amounts of memorials and battlegrounds you should do so. Just plan ahead as crowds are huge at many times of the year.
Fans of Mount St. Mary's tend to primarily be family or friends of the players. What this means is that weekend and later afternoon games will be busier than early afternoon weekday games. In weekday games you will more likely get students stopping in and watching a game on their way to class or back to the dorm. It just means you will see an inconsistent level of fan interaction. The fans who do attend really care about the game and are extremely knowledgeable.
Sure, Emmitsburg can feel like it is in the middle of nowhere, but it really is not. There is major highway, Route 15, which divides the campus. This route runs from Frederick in the south, northwards towards Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
E.T. Straw Family Stadium and the rest of the PNC Sports Complex is located on the east side of Route 15, while the main part of the university campus is located on the west side. A well lit and secured tunnel connect the two parts of campus.
There is also plenty of free parking.
It is free to attend games at E.T. Straw Family Stadium. That coupled with the free parking makes the return on investment pretty good. And since you will not spend money on concessions, the value will be good for the level of play you will witness here.
Check to see if there are any other games in the PNC Sports Complex while you are at a game. I was early for my baseball game so I saw a pretty good lacrosse game just a short walk away. There was also a tournament going on at the complex's tennis facility.
Check out the massive field of solar panel arrays that the university has installed near the athletic complex. The solar farm produces more than 22,000,000 kilowatt hours of emissions-free electricity per year.
The view is another extra. Although not large mountains, more like large hills, the mountains that the university sits along are very nice and offer great views.
E.T. Straw Family Stadium is a very simple baseball stadium. But with the free price of admission and the good quality of play, this field is a nice stop for college baseball fans.
Member Review by mmspatz on May 10, 2013
Schools with religious affiliations have been a prominent member in Division I sports for a long time. Notre Dame, one of the most iconic college football programs in the country, is a private Catholic university. In 2013, the non-football playing schools in the Big East, collectively known as the Catholic 7, formed a non-football playing conference and continued the Big East name as part of ongoing collegiate realignment. But what's the oldest independent Catholic college in America? You won't find that school in Villanova, Providence or South Bend. Drive around sixty miles northwest of Baltimore, Maryland and you will come across a small town of just over 2,800 residents nuzzled in front of the beautiful Catoctin Mountains. The town is Emmitsburg, and it is home of the oldest independent Catholic college in the United States, Mount St. Mary's University.
Mount St. Mary's was established in 1808 and enrolls around 2,100 students. Athletically, the MSM teams are members of the Northeast Conference (NEC), which they joined in 1989, eight years after the conference's inception. There is no football team at Mount St. Mary's, but student-athletes at the university participate in fourteen other sports, including basketball, soccer and lacrosse. The Mountaineers, as the teams are nicknamed, also sponsor a baseball team that plays at E.T. Straw Family Stadium, located just across the street from Knott Arena, the Mountaineers' basketball arena. While the stadium hardly has a bad seat and all fans can attend the games for free, there is hardly enough substance to keep fans entertained throughout. This baseball stadium which is easy to get to is also unfortunately easy to leave.
5 Main St
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
304 East Main St.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
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