Take me out to the Any-Kind-of-Ball-Game

Maryland offers virtually limitless spring sporting events for families to enjoy.

Growing up in Annapolis as a sports-loving kid, it was always a treat to make the trip to D.C. or Baltimore to watch a major league sports game. There aren’t many areas of the country with so many professional teams within an hour’s drive, and I undoubtedly took it for granted when I got to watch one play.

Once I was old enough to start buying my own tickets and figuring out my own transportation, however, I quickly discovered that there aren’t many areas in the country with so many high-quality yet budget-friendly options on the semi-pro and collegiate level to choose from as well. In fact, Maryland’s virtual embarrassment of sports riches means that there’s not only a good chance that you can find an upcoming game to attend in whatever sport strikes your fancy, but also that you can avoid spending an arm and leg on it.

Plus, there’s more going on in the local sports world in the spring than at any other time of year!

BASEBALLbaysox

You’re surely familiar with the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles, whose home openers are on March 28 and April 4, respectively, and whose many promotions include:

  • Impressive kids’ membership clubs. The $20 Jr. Nationals Kids Club offers a bunch of swag to its 4- to 12-year-old members, while the $25 Junior Orioles Dugout Club includes swag and tickets to 6 pre-selected home games.
  • Discounted pricing on package, group, and kids’ tickets, hopefully including a repeat of the O’s Kids Cheer Free program, an initiative that allowed adults in the Upper Deck to bring up to two children 9 and under with them for free. 
  • Giveaways, theme nights and Friday night fireworks.

And you’ve probably heard of, or maybe even seen, at least one of the many minor league teams that offer affordable, family-friendly entertainment, including giveaways and theme nights that most definitely rival the pros, at unique ballparks scattered throughout the state:

  • The Aberdeen IronBirds, who play 38 homes games beginning June 14.
  • The Delmarva Shorebirds, Frederick Keys, and Hagerstown Suns, each open on April 4, which we may safely deem “the biggest day in Maryland AA baseball.”
  • The Bowie Baysox, whose first of 12 home stands begins on April 11.

There are also many great under-the-radar non-professional options as well, including:

  • Navy Men’s Baseball, which began its season in mid-February but will play a whopping 25 home games—all of which have mid-afternoon start times and offer free sit-wherever-you-want admission—at beautiful Max Bishop Stadium in March and April.
  • University of Maryland Baseball, which hosted its first homestand in late February and has 21 total home games left to play at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
  • Navy Women’s Club Softball, which won the National Club Softball Association National Championship last year and will play eight more home games (also free!) at its just-off-the-yard field.
  • Looking at this list, it’s clear that you could easily consume a nearly infinite amount of “the national pastime” this spring. But if you’re more into what many consider Maryland’s national pastime, you're covered there, too.

LACROSSE

You likely know about the Chesapeake Bayhawks, the most successful team in the 15-year history of Major League Lacrosse. They first played in Baltimore (2001–2005), then Washington (2007–2009), and now call Annapolis home. They play eight home games at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium each season, and feature a family-friendly and lively environment. Plus there’s never a lack of goals and they end each game with fireworks!  

If you don’t want to wait until June 29 when the Bayhawks host their first home faceoff, you can catch some high-quality lacrosse with some of the best college lacrosse teams, both men’s and women’s, in the country.

umdwomenUniversity of Maryland

The Terps men’s and women’s teams regularly rank among the nation’s top ten, and have 5 and 6 remaining home games, respectively, at Capital One Field. Tickets range from $5 to $20. Baltimore also happens to be hosting the women’s Big Ten Tournament in May.  

U.S. Naval Academy

Admission to men’s and women’s home games, played at Navy Stadium, is $10 and $0, respectively. The men have 6 games remaining; the women, 8.

Johns Hopkins

The men’s and women’s teams have 6 and 8 home games left, respectively, at Homewood Field. Women’s games are free, men’s are $10–$15.

Loyola

Admission to the 5 remaining men’s games and 7 women’s games, played at Ridgely Athletic Complex, ranges $7 to $15.


Finally, if you’re hoping to watch some sports that are a bit less historic—at least in the U.S.—our region won’t leave you wanting.


HOCKEY

Not much compares to the start-to-finish excitement and energy of a Washington Capitals home game, and there are just 8 remaining in March and early April—plus, hopefully, some playoff games.

Maryland is also the home to the North American Hockey League’s newest team, the Black Bears, who have 6 remaining home games at Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton. The Bears offer a military discount on all tickets, which range from $8 to $15.

BASKETBALLshuckers

The Washington Wizards haven’t had the greatest season, but an NBA game is a high-energy experience, regardless of who’s playing, and ticket prices to the Wiz’s 12 remaining home games should be nice and cheap. Plus the Washington Mystics host their first home tipoff, on June 1.

Of course there are other options:

  • The Capital City Go Go, of the NBA G League, will play 4 more games this season. Tickets range from $6 to $60, at Entertainment and Sports Arena.
  • The Baltimore Shuckers, of the Central Basketball Association, will play the first of 4 home games at Annapolis Area Christian School on March 16.

SOCCER

D.C. United, founded as one of Major League Soccer’s ten charter clubs, began playing at its brand-new stadium, Audi Field, last July and will host 14 home games there this spring and summer. The first is on March 3 and tickets start at $49.

Another great option is our local indoor soccer team, the Baltimore Blast, who have three home games remaining at SECU Arena at Towson University this season.

The Washington Spirit, of the National Women's Soccer League will play 12 home games at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds starting in late spring. Preseason games start March 30.

 

With so many options and so little time, picking and choosing from this list is a task that any sports lover should both love and hate. Good luck!

—Steve Adams

 

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