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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Baltimore Dodgers are the newest entry into the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. They replace the Baltimore Presstman Cardinals in the league and at the Anne Arundel County-owned stadium. The other main tenant of the stadium is Coppin State University, although that school is located 25 miles away in northeast Baltimore. The Presstman Cardinals had been around since 1962, and were created to give opportunities for baseball players who would not necessarily otherwise have a chance. The name, Presstman, referred to the street the team’s founder lived on at the time of formation. The Dodgers state on their webpage that they replaced the Cardinals, but no other information is available.
The league has been around since 2005, and is a wood-bat league in the same tradition as the Cape Cod and New England Collegiate Baseball Leagues, which share a sanctioning body with the Ripken League. The name of the league was originally named to honor Cal Sr, but was later changed to honor both baseball memories.
When Joe Cannon Stadium was opened in 1990, the area was not very developed. Since then, this area has been the center of rapid growth and development. The large Arundel Mills Mall and Maryland Live Casino are literally across the street from the stadium. BWI Airport is also located nearby, and the sight of airplanes taking off is not uncommon.
The Baltimore Dodgers are stocked with players from schools such as Tennessee Wesleyan College, Pitt, Delaware State, Johns Hopkins and Florida Tech.
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".
There are no food sales at the stadium, although the stadium does have a concession stand that is unused at Dodger games. It is also not used for Coppin State games, so I have never seen it opened. One would assume that for some events it is used, but no evidence exists yet.
There should be no issue with bringing your own food to a game at Joe Cannon Stadium. Some picnic tables even exist in front of the unused food stand.
The seating area sits very high off of the field level. Couple that with the lack of nearly any fans, and this makes the atmosphere here nearly non-existent. The sightlines are just not the best. It is admirable that the county built such a large facility, but it was not built with some of the lessons learned by the successes of Oriole Park at Camden Yards or Frederick's Harry Grove Stadium.
The seats are metal bleachers with no backing. It may be worth it to go all the way to the top of the stands so that you will have a back to your seat, but you will be a bit further from the action. Fans who do come to games tend to bring their own chair and sit along the chain link fence along the foul lines. This may offer a bit more interesting view than in the main grandstand.
The stadium is in the middle of a thriving development. Arundel Mills Mall is almost literally across the street, but be warned that finding parking on even the most moderate of shopping days is quite difficult. The addition of the Maryland LIve Casino adds to the popularity of the area. Luckily, the casino has added a large parking garage to alleviate some parking problems.
Food options are varied. The closest options are within walking distance across parking lots. Subway (7550 Teague Rd #111 Hanover, MD) and The Greene Turtle (7556 Teague Rd #100 Hanover, MD) are so close and offer both carry-out and eat-in options. The Greene Turtle has a diverse menu, offering more intriguing options, including everything from Raspberry Turkey Flatbread down to a more usual bar food menu. They also offer many happy hour food and drink specials at the bar.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 7049 Arundel Mills Boulevard is a good option for a quick and cheap meal. Their toasted options are of good quality, with "The Wreck" a personal favorite.
There are so many food options in the area, from standard fast food fare to upscale restaurants at the casino. The mall and the casino really do give some good options for food. Bobby's Burger Palace (7002 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover MD) and their offering of the crunch burger is a nice option. Baltimore's legendary Phillips Seafood (7002 Arundel Mills Circle, Suite 7777) is also in the casino and is a decent seafood option, although not always the most accurate.
At the start of a doubleheader, there were literally no fans at the game, with only myself and some staff in the facility, besides the players. Some fans did stroll in after I had put away my camera, but the attendance was certainly lacking.
It is amazing that the Baltimore Dodgers can get only a handful of fans, while the Bethesda Big Train are in the same league and can get a couple thousand to come and actually pay for watching the game.
Joe Cannon Stadium is near many highways, and the options would seem to be limitless. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway, I-95 and Maryland Route 100 are all close by. So access is technically very good.
But that does not tell the whole story. The traffic around Arundel Mills Mall can be stifling. You can expect to sit through many lights just to make simple and small turns. Weekend games will be worse than weekday games. Plan your trips accordingly, as you may need to be patient for the most simple of rides.
Parking at the stadium is plentiful and free. There are also bathroom facilities available inside the stadium.
This is where the Baltimore Dodgers shine. Games are free, with free parking. What could be better? To watch the fine quality of play for literally nothing is a value that no one could complain about.
The large water tower located beyond the left field wall is an interesting sight to see at a baseball game. It does afford a great view, but some recent construction beyond the wall is disrupting what could be a great baseball view.
Member Review by Stadiumdude99 on Mar 06, 2016
This is a very good park for a college summer league team. Free tickets make it easy to enjoy the great baseball. Most fans are related to players do they are passionate. No good at the stadium but plenty in the area. Water tower provides cool atmosphere. Overall good experience.
7556 Teague Rd #100
Hanover, MD 21076
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