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  • Writer's pictureAaron S. Terry

Homewood Field – Johns Hopkins Blue Jays Football


Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Homewood Field 3399 San Martin Dr Baltimore, MD 21210



Year Opened: 1906

Capacity: 8,500

 

Hop To It in Baltimore


Homewood Field opened in 1906 and has a capacity of 8,500 fans. The field is used for football and lacrosse (both men’s and women’s) at Johns Hopkins University – the new turf was added in 2014 and the new video board (which is used to show replays) was added in 2011. Johns Hopkins football, like almost all the other sports on campus, currently competes at the NCAA’s D3 level, while the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs (the only Johns Hopkins sports to do so) compete at the D1 level.


Food & Beverage 3

There is only one fixed concessions stand at Homewood Field, in the northwest end zone, and it only sells pizza, chips and candy, and cookies, as well as bottled and canned soft drinks. However, what saves the rating here is the Al Pacino Ice Cream food truck behind the opposite end zone – Pacino’s has shaved ice, slushies, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and other treats, etc. – pretty much any type of ice cream you could ask for, so be sure to stop by for a cold, sweet treat. Also, the concessions at Homewood Field take cash or card, which is a real plus in today’s modern age.


Homewood Field Fixed Concession Stand, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey


Atmosphere 5

Homewood Field has a great atmosphere for college football – great fans, a peppy band that plays both modern favorites as well as oldies, fan contests at halftime (which are rare at this level of college football), the requisite dance team and cheerleaders, and an awesome 6-foot blue jay costumed mascot named Jay; Jay can be seen all game long taking photos with fans at the bottom of the grandstand on the home side.


The turf field has grandstands along both sidelines; both have bleacher seating up, plus a wide cement walkway along the top which offers standing-room viewing for fans. The lacrosse center is behind the southeast end zone, and many fans can be seen watching the contest from its second-floor balcony. That end zone contains the Al Pacino Ice Cream food truck, while the main concessions stand is behind the opposite end zone.


Located in Baltimore, the birthplace of the National Anthem, the singing of the Anthem before Johns Hopkins games is a bit more meaningful than at other games, and the PA announcer makes note of this fact when asking fans to stand and remove their caps. Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem during the War of 1812, while a prisoner on board a British ship just a few miles away in Baltimore Harbor, from which he witnessed the British bombardment of the city. Inspired by the American flag still waving after the 25-hour shelling, Key wrote the poem which became the National Anthem, on the back of a letter he had in his pocket.


Neighborhood 5

Homewood Field is located only a few miles from downtown Baltimore, so as you might expect there are plenty of restaurants, hotels, and attractions in the area – you will find plenty to do before or after the game in a city this size. A couple of restaurants I would recommend are Alizee, across the street from the stadium, and Wicked Sisters a little further away. Alizee has a ton of different options, from small plates to burgers, pasta to pizza, and even roasted chicken and grilled salmon, while Wicked Sisters is an upscale pub specializing in craft cocktails and seafood dishes (this is Baltimore after all, so eating seafood should be on your to-do list).


If you have time while in Baltimore, I would recommend checking out Fort McHenry and/or the National Aquarium – Fort McHenry is a national monument and was the fort being shelled which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem. The National Aquarium is huge with a ton of attractions inside, including dolphin shows and behind-the-scenes shark tours, and there are plenty of other attractions in and around Baltimore Harbor as well.


Fans 4

Johns Hopkins football brings in some stellar fans – while the stands are not full, especially on the visitors’ side, there is electricity in the air as the fans here cheer on their Blue Jays. You will hear “That’s another Hopkins first down!” shouted by fans throughout most of the game when JHU is on offense, as well as lots of shouting and stomping during opposing third and fourth downs. The Blue Jays fans seem genuinely excited to watch their team; a lot of them show up in team gear, and many of them can be seen standing the entire time.


Access 3

Unfortunately, the traffic in and around Baltimore is pretty rough, especially if you end up taking I-95/I-395/I-495 (which you probably have to). There are also myriad bridges and tunnels around the city, which tend to get congested. The good news is that most Johns Hopkins football games are on Saturday, so the traffic should be a little better then.


Once you get to the stadium proper, however, the access gets a lot easier – there is free on-the-street parking along University Drive, or you can turn onto San Martin Drive and park in the parking deck around the bend toward the rear – you have to pay to park there, but it is right behind the stadium so is a very short walk. The roof of that parking deck is marked for faculty only, but it seems to be open for football games, so you may be able to park there for free if you prefer. Alternatively, there are city parking garages a little further from the stadium which you can pay to park in.


Inside the stadium itself, the concourse is pretty easy to move around, except note that there is only one men’s bathroom and only one women’s bathroom under each grandstand – these are located near the center of the stands. The concessions are also behind the end zones, so not near the seats, but you can walk around the stadium with views of the action the whole time, so you won’t miss anything.


Return on Investment 5

Admission is free at Homewood Stadium (tickets are not even sold), so this is a bargain when it comes to football at any level, given the great atmosphere, awesome fan base, and how close you are to the action at this small stadium.


Extras 3

A big plus for the “crab race” tradition at the beginning of the fourth quarter – Maryland as you know is known for crab, so this tradition is not only appropriate but also a lot of fun. The PA announcers call for “claws out” while a video of a hoard of cartoon crabs scuttling along the beach shows on the video board, during which funky dance music plays, and fans (as well as the entire football team) all put their hands up in a claw motion and jump up and down dancing while waving their arms from side to side – the football team, in particular, gets into it, which is great to see.


Another plus for the great mascot, and a third plus for the free raffle you can enter (at most stadiums you have to buy tickets for those).

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