Mass Appeal: Our Arlington baseball team

Has anyone seen the GW baseball team play? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Students here go to basketball games, soccer games, lacrosse games and water polo matches. But despite the fact that the program made the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and went 37-18 last year, baseball is almost a forgotten sport.

The reason for this is simple. The team plays its home games at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. You can take the Metro to get there, but the field is a few miles from the stop, so you have to hail a cab from there. For the average student who would rather spend extra cash on beer and $70 GW basketball jerseys, the commute is a royal pain in the ass.

Even for this Hatchet reporter “covering” the team, the commute was a royal PITA that prevented me from seeing one game in person last year. It was easier and cheaper for me to travel 40 miles to Baltimore on the MARC train to see the Orioles play the Red Sox. I’d even be willing to bet that more students went to Camden Yards than to Barcroft last year.

The few people – mostly players – who do get out to Barcroft don’t exactly rave about the condition of the field. Last year, former GW pitcher and current San Diego Padres pitching prospect Greg Conden said the team once found a homeless man sleeping in the dugout before practice.

The most effective but unlikely solution to the problem would be the addition of a baseball field on or near campus. But like any city school, space is tight, so additions are limited to 10-story super dorms with gourmet food courts in the basement.

Seriously, though, it’s tough to get land for a baseball field in downtown D.C. GW Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz would be a big proponent of baseball moving closer to campus if he could actually find a place for a field. For now, he said, the baseball team is staying put in Arlington.

“We’ve got what we got,”he said Friday. “I understand it’s a problem because it’s the one sport off campus.”

What “we’ve got” at GW is a brand-new facility on the Mount Vernon Campus, just a 10-minute shuttle ride away. You can see the softball team and the soccer team there, but as Kvancz told me in the fall, the site wasn’t big enough for a full-size baseball field.

But if there can be a shuttle to Mount Vernon, then the University should provide some sort of transportation to Barcroft. I figured GW would have already had a plan in effect, but when I went to the Student Activities Center to look into possible shuttle service on game days, the guy working at the desk told me the University didn’t provide transportation to Orioles games. Shocking, huh?

Tim Miller, associate director of SAC, said there were no plans for any shuttle but thought the University might have provided service to games about two years ago. In reality, there was a bus to only one game, a match-up in the A-10 tourney against Richmond.

The GW spirit office had a better idea of what I was talking about. Program Coordinator and head cheerleading coach Nicole Macchione said her organization might help organize trips to “the big games” this season. The problem is that “the big games” are played around and after graduation, so most students are gone anyway.

Regardless of the magnitude of the games, a few extra fans would be nice for these guys any time of the year. The Colonials averaged just 88 spectators at home last year in comparison to 316 per road game. I’m sure a little increase would be appreciated.

Despite my campaigning, I do realize that GW is a basketball school. At a school without football, round ball will always be king. And after beating Dayton last week, the king is reigning supreme again.

But come late March, try to remember baseball. If someone asks, “Does GW have a baseball team?” just take a response right out of the movie “Major League” and say, “Yup, they’ve got uniforms and everything.”

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