Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
George Mason Softball Stadium
4601 Rapidan River Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
Year Opened: N/A
The George Mason Softball Stadium is the home to the George Mason University Patriots softball team. Located on the school’s campus in Fairfax, Virginia, the stadium underwent major renovations in 2009 and can seat up to 700 fans, including berm seating.
Food & Beverage 2
There is a food truck which sometimes shows up to GMU games which has a limited but decent enough selection. Meals include burgers ($5), hot dogs ($3), and chicken tenders ($8). Fries are $4 by themselves and can be added to any meal for $3.
Other options include nachos ($5), pretzels ($4), cookies and candy ($3), brownies ($4), and chips ($2). Powerade and soda are available for $4 and bottled water for $3. On cold days, coffee and hot chocolate are available for $3 each.
The GMU Softball Stadium is a small but intimate environment. There is a set of bleachers without backs behind home plate and additional seating is available on grass berms down the lines. Fans can bring blankets or lawn chairs and sit there. A scoreboard in right-centerfield shows the basic information but nothing else.
The atmosphere here is pretty standard – a public address announcer and music between innings and before each batter. There is not much else going on, but that is not unexpected at this level.
George Mason’s campus is located in suburban Fairfax County, just across the border from the City of Fairfax, which like all cities in Virginia is a politically separate entity from any county. This confusing situation aside, Fairfax is a typical suburb located about 25 miles outside of Washington, D.C. The University Mall shopping center is located across the street from campus and features Brion’s Grille as well as several chain places and a movie theatre. The 29 Diner is a local favorite as well.
While Fairfax doesn’t have the same excitement you’d get in the District, it’s still a nice suburb with plenty to do and eat before or after the game.
The Patriots do not draw well and most of the fans who do show up are friends and family of the players. When we went, there were as many fans as the opposing team as there were for the Patriots. Those who do show up can get into the game, but there simply aren’t that many of them. Unfortunately, this is pretty standard for college softball in this part of the country.
George Mason’s campus is about six miles off the Capital Beltway (I-495) or three miles off I-66. Once you’re on campus, there is ample parking available near the stadium, either right outside it or in nearby lots. If you must use public transit, you will use the Vienna-Fairfax/GMU station on the Orange Line, but this is about five miles away. A shuttle to campus is available but lets you off nowhere near the stadium. Despite the name, the Virginia Square/GMU station should not be used as it serves Mason’s satellite campus in Arlington, many miles away.
There are restrooms available on the concourse. While small, they are of ample size for the crowds.
Return on Investment 4
Admission is free and concessions are affordable. However, there is not enough here to get the top rating.
There are free programs available next to the press box.
Look for the banner in centerfield honoring Nakoma Sours, an All-American centerfielder for the Patriots who was killed in a car crash during her sophomore year in 1995.
College softball is simply not a huge deal in most of the country, and George Mason is no exception. While it’s hard to argue with the chance to spend an afternoon watching sports at no cost, regardless of the circumstances, there isn’t a whole lot going on here to encourage non-locals to make the trip.