Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Shirley Povich Field 10600 Westlake Dr Rockville, MD 20852
Year Opened: 2000 Capacity: 1,500
Shirley It Must Be Baseball Time
Georgetown University’s baseball team is the school’s oldest athletic program, beginning play informally in 1866 and officially founded in 1870. For their first 130 years, the Hoyas played on campus in various different venues. However, in 2000, the GU Baseball Diamond was demolished to make way for a new athletic building, and the team was forced to find a new home. Since the 2001 season, the Hoyas have played their home games off campus at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Maryland, at a stadium that is also the home to a collegiate summer league team, the Bethesda Big Train.
The stadium is named after longtime local sports columnist Shirley Povich, who covered baseball for over 50 years and was one of the last living reporters to have covered Babe Ruth. He began his career with the Washington Post in 1923, and although he officially retired in 1973, he never stopped covering the game. His last column was published in 1998, one day after his death.
Food & Beverage 0
There is a concession stand at Shirley Povich Field, but it is only used for Big Train games. There are vending machines that sell soda, water, and Powerade just outside the stadium if you’re really desperate, and there is a café in the Ice Rink at the other side of the parking lot if you’re willing to walk all the way down there, but it may not even be open depending on the public skating schedule. Your best bet is to eat before the game or bring your own food.
The atmosphere at a Hoyas baseball game is not particularly impressive. The team does little to add to it other than play music in between innings, and the fact that the stadium is located in a county park surrounded by rec fields makes this feel more like you’re watching a Sunday beer league game than a college baseball game. In fact, other than the “We are Georgetown” banner hung across the outfield fence, there is little here to indicate you are even at a Georgetown game. All of the other signage in and around the stadium is for the Bethesda Big Train.
The good news is that every seat in the stadium is a chair back, and they all have a great view of the field. All seats are behind netting, which is unfortunate but necessary given how close they are to the action. There is a scoreboard in left-center field which shows a line score as well as the count, current batter, and the time and temperature.
Shirley Povich Field is located in Cabin John Park, which is operated by Montgomery County. There is an ice rink and some recreational fields located in the immediate vicinity of the stadium, all part of the park. A shopping center is located across the street which includes a Five Guys, a taco place, and a number of other shops. Bobby’s Burger Palace is located just down the road and is a local favorite as well. There are several hotels on Democracy Boulevard a couple miles from the stadium, and Cabin John Park also has a campground for those visitors to the area looking to stay in a more natural environment.
Washington, D.C. is a short Metro ride away and features various museums, monuments, and other sites. Whether it’s visiting the Smithsonian or talking a walk along the National Mall, there is something to do for everyone in the nation’s capital, and most of it is free. Just keep in mind if you want to visit the Capitol or White House, you will need to book those tours in advance.
The fans at Hoyas games are mostly family and friends of the players, and there are often as many fans of the opposing teams as there are rooting for the Hoyas. With the stadium located so far from campus, there are few, if any, students here. The fans who do show up can get loud at times, but there are so few of them it hardly makes a difference. College baseball is just not that big in this part of the country, and it shows.
Shirley Povich Field is located just off I-270 and I-495. Take the exit for Democracy Boulevard, follow it to Westlake Drive, and the entrance to Cabin John Park will be up ahead on your left. From there, head past the ice rink and the stadium will be up ahead. There are several other baseball fields in the complex used for recreational purposes, but Shirley Povich Field will be very clearly signed.
Due to the large complex, there is more than enough parking available. However, the parking lot can be a tight fit and make exiting after the game difficult, especially if people are trying to enter the lot as well to go elsewhere in the park.
Unfortunately, Shirley Povich Field is not easily accessible via the D.C. Metro. Restrooms are small but sufficient for the crowd. The men’s restroom can be hard to find as it is hidden off in the corner and not, as one would expect, across from the women’s restroom.
Return on Investment 5
Parking and admission are both free, and it’s not like you’ll be spending anything on concessions since there aren’t any available. It’s hard to argue with that.
There are free programs available behind home plate, placed under a brick behind the backstop so they don’t blow away.
There are murals behind home plate dedicated to Shirley Povich and longtime Washington Senator Walter Johnson. Johnson was nicknamed “Big Train” and is the namesake of the summer league club that plays here.
One final star for the bucolic setting in Cabin John Park. There is so much else to do here, including ice skating, tennis courts, and miles of hiking and biking trails that you could easily turn a visit to a game into a full day in the park.
College baseball is not that big in this part of the country, and the fact that the Hoyas play in an out of the way location miles from campus doesn’t help. However, it is hard to argue with free baseball, whatever the setting, and Georgetown does deserve credit for that. Shirley Povich Field is a nice stadium, and it is a shame that the Hoyas do not use it to its full potential.