Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.00
John W. Smithson Field
N Latchs Ln
Merion Station, PA 19066
Year Opened: 2012
The Hawks’ Nest
Since 1958, St. Joseph’s University has played their home baseball games off campus, even as far as the former Campbell’s Field in Camden, NJ. But with the 2008 addition of the Maguire Campus, St. Joseph has been able to add new athletic facilities, as well as academic buildings. John W. Smithson Field now serves as the home of the baseball program after opening in 2012.
St. Joseph’s University is a Roman Catholic Jesuit university located at the crossroads of the Wynnefield neighborhood of Philadelphia and Lower Merion Township. The university straddles Route 1, with a pedestrian bridge connecting both parts of the campus. The baseball field is technically located in Merion Station, PA.
The athletic programs of St. Joseph are part of the Atlantic 10 Conference. This conference, many in the northeast, is not considered a hotbed of baseball. but you may see some competitive teams in this league.
Food & Beverage 0
There are no food options at Smithson Field. Bring your own food if you wish to enjoy anything. A single soft drink machine is located in the basement of the local athletic building. The only bathroom is located here, and a guard has to let you in for access.
The three sections of stands are very small, but sound tends to travel with the sheltered design. You can also view the game standing along the various fences surrounding the field. A personal favorite is the small abutment near the first base foul pole heading towards the elevated bullpens.
The university is located in a nice area of town. There are large gothic-style houses and buildings in the area. You can see some of these buildings from the field itself, and they offer a pleasant view. St. Joseph University is located on the Main Line in Philadelphia. This area has some of the wealthiest towns in the country, including Lower Merion, Radnor, and Gladwyne.
There is nothing right near the baseball field besides these houses. If you walk back to the main part of campus, there are some nice shopping and restaurants nearby. Larry’s Steaks offers traditional Philly cheesesteaks across from the Hagan Arena. That is a good option for food, although a true Philadelphia native may prefer their own cheesesteak establishment instead.
In the same block is a large parking structure that has the college bookstore in its ground floor. Next to this, and also in the ground floor of the garage, is Landmark Americana, which is a great option for post-game eating. This restaurant offers a nice choice of meals and has a large bar, as well. For Saturday games, look out for the $10 all-you-can-eat wings special. They also offer numerous drink specials at the bar.
Wayne, PA is another popular area to explore before games. Pipeline Tacos and Teresa’s Next Door are good options for food and drink respectively. Of course, the city of Philadelphia is close by so many options exist in that large city. May I suggest Philip’s Steaks at 2234 West Passyunk Avenue if you want to try a cheesesteak away from Larry’s?
I attended both a morning home game, as well as an afternoon game with two visiting teams as part of the Big 5 Baseball Bash. It was also spring break. Both games were well-attended but clearly with family members only. I would doubt this would be much different during regular semesters, as the field is a bit separated from other campus activities.
St, Joseph’s is not too difficult to get to, as it is located close to exit 339 off Interstate 76 and right off of US Route 1. But the baseball stadium is another matter. Public transportation is close by as you can take a SEPTA train from 30th Street Station in downtown Philadelphia to the area. Check the schedules for night and weekend games.
If following directions via GPS, you will be routed directly outside of the field, but you will find there is no parking nearby. Your best bet is to park in the parking garage across from Hagan Arena and walk over. A shuttle to the game is supposedly available, but I never saw it.
If you walk around the Maguire Campus long enough you will find the field tucked away in the far corner.
Return on Investment 3
It is free to get into Smithson Field. The seats are close to the action and the view from the field is nice, so it is a fair cost, even if you do end up paying to park.
The neighborhood surrounding the field has some pretty impressive houses. If you are into architecture or just enjoy the houses of the rich and famous, you will enjoy this.
This is a nice, simple ballpark offering good baseball with little frills. Don’t go out of your way to attend, but if in the direct area, it may be a good place to spend a nice afternoon.