Prince George's Stadium is the home of the Bowie Baysox, Double A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Opened in 1994, it has played host to numerous special sporting events including several All-Star events.
My impression? It's a great big bowl of fun.
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All of your regular ballpark fare can be had here, your peanuts, popcorn, burgers, dogs and pizza. But you also have good variety available. There is pretty good pit beef BBQ. For vegetarians they have a good Black Bean Burger, and for dessert, Dippin Dots and Rita's Italian Ice, which is sinful, but low in calories. Must be voodoo, I don't know how they do it. If you don't have a Rita's near you, move. It's worth it.
A small, yet surprisingly diverse selection of beer and wine is available. Whatever your taste, from Budweiser to Kirin Ichiban, it's covered here. Sixteen ounce drafts will set you back about six or seven bucks, a 24 ounce can of select imports will cost you $10.
One of the great things about minor league baseball is how hard they go out of their way to entertain you. The Baysox are no exception. You will have a blast here, especially if you bring kids. On the night of my visit, they were attempting to set three separate world records, one each for the most people at the same time:
1. Playing Air Guitar
2. Doing The Twist
3. Sitting on whoopee cushions
How can you not have fun doing that? They have a kids area with a merry-go-round, moon bounce and tee ball. They have face painting. They play musical chairs on the field, along with people wrestling in sumo suits. The kids get to run the bases after the game, and after they have the fireworks display. There is a picnic area as well.
One thing that just blew my mind was when people arrived a little late, an usher would come down and clean their seats off for them. Not just a casual swipe with their hand, but spray and wipe with a cloth. I was stunned. You don't get that kind of service in most major league places.
The stadium is located in the suburban town of Bowie. As a result, you don't really have a neighborhood to speak of. There are plenty of decent places within a five minute drive, but they are all chain places like Applebee's or Chili's or various other yawn inducing places. I mean, they're fine, they just aren't anything you can't get five minutes from wherever you happen to be sitting right now
The one exception is Rips Country Inn. Located just south of the stadium on US Route 301, it has a deli, motel, convenience store (which in the state of Maryland means liquor) and a terrific restaurant. The bar has a neighborhood feel to it, and the menu is very diverse and very good. Try the ribs. Or any kind of seafood. You won't be disappointed.
Bowie people love their Baysox. The names change, players come and go, but they are behind their team. Minor league baseball has a level of purity that you cannot find in a major league park. This was underlined for me by the family of four that sat behind me, explaining the nuances of the game to their children. They were from the Midwest, and, uh, vigorously disagreed with rating Oriole Park slightly higher than Wrigley Field. I am a sucker for knowledgeable fans. There were plenty here. I would have liked to have seen the stadium more than half full.
Plenty of free parking is available at the stadium, which is easily found just south of US Route 50 on US Route 301. The bathrooms sparkle and are a good size, no waiting.
Where else can you take a family of four to anything that includes drinks and dinner, for less than $100? Wherever that is, there is no chance you will have as much fun as you will at Prince George's Stadium.
Big points here for this: If you buy a shirt from the gift shop, they will personalize it for you, on the spot, for five bucks extra. Get your own name and a number, or your favorite player's name and number, or a random collection of letters and numbers (if that suits you) on a shirt before you leave the stadium. How cool is that?
If you are in Washington, DC or Annapolis, MD (Bowie is nearly equidistant from each), a Baysox game is a great way to spend an evening. If you have kids, they will love it. If you just like good baseball with good people, stop on by. You will have a fun evening, I promise.
Geoff Crawley is the Mid Atlantic Regional Correspondent and Voice of the Fan and is the host of a weekly podcast.
I attended a game in Bowie on June 1st, 2010 (a Tuesday) and could not believe how unbelievably dead the ballpark was. Official attendance was 1,438...but an unofficial count was more like 400. The weather was beautiful: 80 degrees and partly sunny. It was a nice ballpark, but I just could not get past the fact that there were no fans and a non-existent atmosphere. Realizing there weren't any big promotions and it was a school night, I wouldn't expect big crowds....but a Double-A team in that market should be able to draw a few thousand.
The food and drink here was awesome...a lot of variety and it was good too. Platters were reasonably priced and a solid meal. I think eating at the ballpark is a better idea than in the nearby suburbanish area of chain eateries.
Ballpark design wasn't anything special, but it was pretty nice to see an open concourse from a ballpark built in 1993. The outfield surroundings of trees were quite pleasant.
I attended a game at Prince George's this year I found it to be well priced and highly enjoyable. I got lucky that Vladimar Guerrero was on a rehab assignment. Overall a decent experience not the best AA park Ive seen but definitely not the worst.
I've been here twice. Once was for an AA All-Star game and the other time was a June weeknight. While I like the stadium and the carousel in RF, there really wasn't much else that is notable. The crowd for June weeknight game was very sparse and quiet. They didn't really seem to get that interested in the game. That's OK with me, I go to a lot of games each year and I like quiet, relaxing parks. The food was OK and parking is easy. My favorite part is a pre-game visit to the Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Next time I'm in the area with time to kill, I'll probably visit Frederick instead.
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