Fairfax Field – Shepherd Rams
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
Fairfax Field W High Street Shepherdstown, WV 25443
Opened: 1920 Capacity: 500
Rams Baseball in Shepherdstown
Shepherd University competes at the Division II level of the NCAA and is located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in the Eastern Panhandle of the Eastern Panhandle of the state. (This is not a typo. Look at a map.) Fairfax Field is located on the Shepherd campus and was built in the early 1920s to house the school’s football team. However, it was a wholly inadequate facility, and in 1959, the team moved to the newly built Ram Stadium. Fairfax Field was then converted to a baseball field, which It remains to this day. One can still imagine the football field that was once here by noting the unusually deep center field fence.
Food & Beverage 2
Limited concessions are served out of a truck behind the first base bleachers. Options include hamburgers (cheese optional), hot dogs, candy, chips, soda, and water. Although the options are limited, the prices are quite reasonable.
Fairfax Field is a small stadium, but that just makes it all the more intimate. There are three sections of seats here. The one immediately behind home plate consists of chair backs, while the other two sections are metal bleachers. Some of the chair backs have the names of donors on them, and they are typically allowed to sit there if they come, but other than that, it’s general admission. Note that the chair backs will be in the shade for most of the game, while the bleachers will be in the sun. Which one is preferable depends on the weather. On a brisk day early in the season, fans may want to forgo the chair backs and sit in the sun. As the season goes on into May and the temperature heats up, that shade will seem a lot nicer.
The team plays music in between batters and in between innings, but other than that, there isn’t much going on here other than the game itself. It is a baseball purist’s dream, but fans expecting all the bells and whistles they’d get at a professional park will be deeply disappointed.
Shepherdstown is a friendly town but is not a particularly large one. There are a few restaurants and such in the immediate vicinity, but ultimately this is a sleepy small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains with not much to do.
That being said, there is a lot of natural beauty in the area. Despite the popular John Denver song, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River are mainly associated with Virginia, not West Virginia, but Jefferson County, where Shepherdstown is located, is the one place in the state you can actually experience them. Civil War buffs can also take a short drive across the Potomac River to visit the historic battlefield at Antietam, Maryland.
Although Fairfax Field is a small facility, fans do a good job filling it up. The ones who attend are knowledgeable and passionate, cheering on the Rams loudly through nine innings. They are not afraid to get on the umpires’ case if they feel they made a poor call. Some students show up as well, but do not show the passion you’d expect from students at a bigger school. Additionally, if the game runs long, many of them will leave early to go to other evening activities.
Shepherdstown can be tough to access and will require at least some travel on local roads. State Route 9 and U.S. Route 340 can get you close, but then you will have to do some driving on back roads to get to campus. Once you’re on campus, there is a small lot right next to the stadium, but that fills up quickly. There are several lots located a short walk away in between the stadium and the Butcher Athletic Center, where the basketball team plays. Note that if you are heading to a weekday game, there will be additional restrictions in effect and you must follow all posted signs. On weekends, parking on campus is unrestricted and permitted in any marked space.
Return on Investment 5
Admission is free, parking is free, and concessions are very affordable as well. Although you may have to spend a bit on gas to get here, a trip to a Shepherd baseball game is quite a bargain.
There is a banner down the right field line listing Shepherd’s baseball accomplishments on a conference and NCAA level.
Free programs are available in a converted mailbox by the bleachers. Although they are very basic, you can’t argue with the price.
Even Division I college baseball isn’t all that popular in this part of the country, and Division II baseball even less so. However, the Shepherd Rams have a small core of fans who are extremely passionate about their team and make the trek to Shepherdstown worthwhile for baseball fans in the area.