The Diamond at UMBC - UMBC Retrievers
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
The Diamond at UMBC 1000 Hilltop Circle Baltimore, MD 21250
UMBC Retrievers website The Diamond at UMBC website
Year Opened: 1991 Capacity: 500
Diamond of Dreams
The University of Maryland-Baltimore County, more commonly known as UMBC, competes in the America East Conference in the NCAA. The Retrievers' softball program plays at The Diamond at UMBC, which is part of the UMBC Stadium Complex. The complex is also home to UMBC Stadium, home to the Retrievers' lacrosse program, and Alumni Field, home to the baseball team.
Along with the other stadiums in the complex, The Diamond was recently renovated. Stadium lights were installed for the first time, to allow night games, and the netting and fencing was replaced and improved. Several additions shared between the facilities were also added, including new restrooms and a concession stand serving all three stadiums.
Food & Beverage 2
There is one concession stand at UMBC softball games, although it is not at The Diamond itself but located centrally within the complex, closer to the baseball and lacrosse stadiums. It serves a basic menu of hot dogs, grilled chicken sandwiches, and assorted snacks and beverages. Prices are about average, with the most expensive thing being the grilled chicken at $8, but most things go for under $5.
There are small two sets of metal bleachers located at the bottom of the hill that surrounds The Diamond, one on each side of the press box behind home plate. Many fans also bring their own chairs and sit at the top of the hill alongside the path that will take you to the stadium. The bleachers are very close to the action, while the path is somewhat further removed, but still offers an excellent view in most places. All seats are behind a net or metal fence, but with how close they are and how fast the ball comes off the bat, this is unavoidable.
Music is played between batters and during breaks in the action, and there will often be a few giveaways such as a 50/50 raffle or a drawing for an autographed softball. For the most part, however, the focus is on the game itself. There may be a few other things going on, but not to the extent that they distract from the game.
Alumni Field is located on campus in the Baltimore suburbs, and there is not much going on in the immediate vicinity. Even elsewhere in town, there isn’t much other than a few chain restaurants. UMBC won a hard fight with the US Postal Service to get a Baltimore mailing address, but it isn’t actually located in the City of Baltimore. Your best bet is to make the short drive to the actual city, where you will find many restaurants and other entertainment options. Miss Shirley’s is a particular favorite if you head there.
UMBC will typically draw several hundred fans a game for softball. Some of them will pack into the small bleachers, while others will sit in their own chairs further away. Wherever they sit, they cheer on UMBC loudly and proudly. Most of them have some connection to the players on the field, but some are just longtime Retrievers fans there to cheer on their team. Considering this is a small college in the northeast, the crowds are impressive, although they are not what you may find in other areas of the country.
To get to the UMBC campus, fans will have to take State Route 166, an extension of I-195 west of I-95. From there, simply take the exit to the campus and follow the signs. There are two possible places to park to get to The Diamond. You can park in one of the spaces along Hilltop Circle near the main entrance to the Stadium Complex. Once you enter, turn right and walk past the baseball field. Alternatively, fans can park in the UMBC Technology Park and use the back entrance to the complex. This will get them closer to the softball stadium but further from the concession stand, restrooms, and rest of the complex. If going on a weekday, be sure to be mindful of parking restrictions. On a weekend, you should be fine parking anywhere.
Once you get to The Diamond, if you want to sit in the bleachers, you will need to walk down some wooden stairs. The bleachers are not large enough that you will be doing much walking about up them, though, so it is pretty simple to get there. Restrooms are located near the concession stand in between the baseball and lacrosse stadiums, a short walk away, and are of an ample size for the small crowds. However, if there are other events going on in the complex at the same time, that may complicate things.
Return on Investment 4
Admission is free, parking is free, at least on weekends, and concessions are affordable. This serves to make a trip to a UMBC softball a great value.
There are free programs available at the bottom of the bleachers down the first baseline.
Look for signage along the outfield fence honoring UMBC's historic accomplishments.
A marketing table along the path at the top of the hill offers giveaways and other promotional opportunities.
While The Diamond at UMBC is a rather simple softball stadium, the team and its fans manage to create a good atmosphere in an intimate environment. With the recent renovations, a trip to see UMBC softball is well worth it for any fans in the area.