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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Frank Mann Field - Alexandria Aces




Photo by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71

Frank Mann Field 3700 Commonwealth Ave Alexandria, VA 22305

Year Opened: 1978 Capacity:

 

Acing It In Alexandria

Frank Mann Field is home to the Alexandria Aces of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The CRCBL is a summer collegiate wood bat league featuring six teams in the Washington, D.C. area. It formerly contained as many as 12 teams, but has decreased in size in recent years. Three of the teams are based in Maryland, two in Virginia, and one in the District of Columbia itself.


The stadium was built in 1978 and hosts the Bishop Ireton High School team as well as several youth teams in addition to the Aces. It is named after former Alexandria mayor Frank Mann. Prior to hosting the Aces, it was the home of the Alexandria Dukes of the Carolina League from 1978 to 1983. The Dukes later relocated to Woodbridge, and are today known as the Potomac Nationals. In addition to the subpar facilities, the Dukes were reportedly concerned about the prohibition on alcohol sales due to the stadium being located next to a school.


Food & Beverage 2

The food selection at Frank Mann Field is nothing special, but you will certainly not go hungry here either. The good news is everything is quite affordable. If you want a main course, your only options are pizza ($2 per slice for cheese or pepperoni) and hot dogs ($3). Chips and drinks are available for $1 each. No alcohol is served here.


Atmosphere 2

This is truly baseball at its basics. There are only a handful of metal bleachers seating maybe a few hundred fans. All seats are separated from the field not by netting but by a chain link fence that can make it difficult to see the action. There is a scoreboard in left-center field that shows the line score and count and the team plays music in between innings, but there really isn’t that much else here. For baseball purists, this will be a fun experience, but those who enjoy the between inning distractions will be out of luck.


Neighborhood 5

Frank Mann Field is located in Alexandria, just across the Potomac River from the District of Columbia. Although there is not much within walking distance of the stadium, those willing to drive around Alexandria will find quite a bit.


The Old Town neighborhood a couple miles south is one of the nicest parts of the entire metropolitan area. Visitors will find riverfront views and streets lined with restaurants, shops, and more. As Alexandria is a very diverse area, you will find ethnic food of just about every nationality, whether it’s Bolivian, Salvadoran, or Italian. Il Porto Ristorante has fantastic Italian food and is conveniently located just up King Street from Pop’s Old Fashion Ice Cream, where you can finish off your meal with homemade ice cream.


Hotels are ample in supply as well – check out the Old Town or Crystal City areas.


Fans 1

The attendance at the game we attended was under 100 fans, and about half of them were fans of the opposing team. That paltry attendance is unfortunately typical of the Ripken League. Some of the fans who attended seemed attentive and knowledgeable about the action on the field, but others seemed more concerned with discussing the quality of the pizza being served while comparing it to the quality of pizza at other league stadiums. At least this shows fans are familiar with the league, I guess. For the most part, the fans were barely audible throughout the game and it seems quite likely the vast majority of Alexandrians don’t even know this team exists.


Access 4

Frank Mann Field is located just off Commonwealth Avenue in the City of Alexandria. Parking is free in a lot adjacent to the stadium, with additional spaces being available beyond the outfield fence. Do not park on the street or you will be towed. Unfortunately, Frank Mann Field is not yet Metro-accessible, being located approximately halfway between the King Street and Reagan Airport stations. Both are about two miles away. A station at Potomac Yards is currently under construction and will be about a 15-minute walk away once completed.


All Aces games start at 6:30 PM, which means you will likely be dealing with rush hour traffic to get to a game if you come on a weeknight. D.C. traffic is some of the worst in the country, so be sure to allow a lot of extra time. It’s not quite as bad in the summer as during the rest of the year, but that isn’t saying much.


Return on Investment 4

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. As is typical at summer league games, your ticket doubles as entry to a raffle, so be sure to hold onto it and see if your number is called. Concessions are affordable and parking is free. However, the Aces simply do not have enough to offer to make the return score get the top rating, despite the incredible affordability. The Aces should look to improve the experience here and try to attract more fans.


Extras 1

There is a table near the entrance selling team merchandise. That’s about the only extra here.


Final Thoughts

The vast majority of Alexandrians do not realize the Aces exist, and the team does not do a good job of publicizing themselves. With routine crowds under 100 fans, it’s hard to get much of an atmosphere here. It’s a shame too, because summer league baseball can be great, affordable fun for the whole family. An experience with the Aces isn’t nearly as good as you would get about an hour’s drive away in some of the Valley Baseball League venues, but for locals looking to stay inside the Beltway while watching baseball at an affordable price, it can be a fun way to spend a few hours on a summer night.


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