Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium 41220 Fieldhouse Dr College Park, MD 20740
Year Opened: 1956
Located on the campus of the University of Maryland, Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium has been home to the Terrapins’ baseball team since 1952. The stadium is adjacent to Maryland Stadium, home to the Terps’ football and lacrosse programs, and part of the upper deck is visible from the stands. Renovations to the stadium over the years include the installation of lights in the 1994 season and an all-turf field following the Terrapins’ run to the Super Regionals in 2015.
Food & Beverage 2
There is a concession stand on the concourse at the top of the stands which offers very basic options. The only thing that could be a meal are hot dogs for $2.75. Pretzels, popcorn, and sunflower seeds are also $2.75, while chips (Lay’s or Doritos) are $2.50. Bottled water and soda (all Pepsi products) are $2.75, while hot chocolate and coffee are available for $2.50 on colder days. The prices are at least affordable and you can see the action from the stand while you’re waiting in line.
As of Stadium Journey’s visit for the last game of the 2021 season, the stadium was only accepting credit cards. While this is planned to be a temporary measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more venues are deciding to make their temporary cashless plans permanent, so we suggest coming prepared just in case.
Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium is an intimate stadium, with none of the plastic bleacher seats more than ten or so rows away from the action. The entrance is cut into a hill and fans will walk down a ramp or small flight of steps to enter the stadium. From there, they will enter a concourse that surrounds the seating bowl and walk down to their seats. Many fans will choose to stand here and watch the action instead of sitting.
The Terrapins do a lot to keep fans engaged, playing music between innings, and each batter and pitchers also have their own special music. Often the fans will clap along to the tune, generating some energy during breaks in the action. A digital scoreboard in left field provides the line score and other basic information. Beyond the scoreboard, fans will see the towering upper deck of Maryland Stadium, which is normally empty during baseball season except for the annual spring football game.
College Park is a small college town with enough in the immediate area to get by but is really nothing special. There is a bowling alley a couple of miles away, and a bunch of chain restaurants within walking distance. If you’re looking for some local color, College Park Diner is a favorite with residents and students alike and serves up comfort food 24 hours a day. Looney’s Pub on Route 1 is a sports bar with dozens of big-screen TVs for your viewing pleasure. A couple of hotels are located nearby, including a Marriott just off campus, and The Hotel on-campus. (Yes, the on-campus hotel is literally called The Hotel. Not a very creative name.)
That being said, if you’re looking to do more than eat and sleep, your best bet is to head down to the Metro station and take the Green Line into D.C. It’s about a 30-minute ride downtown. Once you’re there, there’s so much to do and most of it is free. Whether it’s visiting one of the historic monuments and memorials, visiting one of the numerous museums, or simply walking outside on the National Mall, there’s something for everyone. All government-run attractions are free to the public, though some privately-run ones are not. Just keep in mind if you want to tour the Capitol or White House, you will need to reserve that ahead of time.
Maryland draws well for baseball games compared to other schools in the area, averaging between 500 and 1,000 fans a game. If it’s a nice Saturday afternoon towards the end of the school year, they can draw even more. The fans who do show up are loud and engaged and cheer on the Terps throughout the game. Many of the same fans go to games all season, so they know a great deal about the team, the players, the coaches, and even the umpires.
The University of Maryland campus is located just a few miles from I-495 (Capital Beltway) or Maryland Route 295 (Baltimore-Washington Parkway). Once you get on the campus, the closest place to park is the Union Lane Garage, but this is a paid garage that could cost up to $15 depending on how early you arrive and how long you stay. We would recommend downloading the Parkmobile app to your smartphone so you can add more time to the meter without having to return to the garage if the game runs long. Alternatively, if you are going to a game on a weekend or arriving after 4 PM on a Friday, you can park in Lot 1 or Z by the soccer stadium for free. This is about a five-minute walk to the stadium.
The concourse is narrow but shouldn’t be an issue with the small crowd size. Bathrooms are small but sufficient for the crowds.
Return on Investment 4
General admission tickets are $5 for non-conference games and $10 for conference games. Youth, seniors, and groups can get discounted prices on this. These prices are about standard for college baseball in a top conference like the Big Ten. Throw in the affordable concessions and possibility for free parking if you go on a weekend and are willing to walk a bit, and a trip to a Maryland baseball game is a big deal.
The concourse at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium has a unique structure, with pillars supporting the overhang separating it from the seating bowl.
A second star for the view of Maryland Stadium beyond the left field fence.
A third and final star for the programs which are normally available, although they were not when we went due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we understand the need to make these digital temporarily, we hope the changes do not become permanent.
Maryland is that odd part of the country that is not quite northern and not quite southern and the Terrapins’ attitude towards college baseball reflects that. While you will not get the large, raucous crowds and stadiums that rival minor league ones that you would find further south, this also is a far cry from the barebones fields with sparse crowds that are so prevalent in the northeast. In the end, this is an average to above-average place to watch a college baseball game if we’re comparing it to national venues, but compared to other college baseball venues in the Baltimore-Washington area, Bob “Turtle” Smith may be the nicest.