Chronological Tour: Stop 38

Shake Those Keys!

Main entrance to Harry Grove Stadium, Apr-2003.

The seating bowl, as seen from the berm down the left-field line.

It’s a high wall, but there isn’t much to look at beyond it.

Quick Facts: Rating: 3 baseballs
In 1814, Francis Scott Key, of Frederick, was holed up across from Fort McHenry during a British siege of Baltimore Harbor. He got up in the morning, realized that there was still a huge American flag flying over the fort, and penned the poem “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Frederick immortalized its favorite son by having this club, one of three in the Maryland Baseball Partnership of Orioles farm teams (the others being in Bowie and Salisbury), named the Keys. The Partnership later sold the three clubs to Comcast Spectacor, the sports operations division of the cable company.

While it isn’t spectacular, this park served as a prototype for many fine parks built during the early 1990s.

The ballpark had no corporate sponsorship for its first 25 years of existence, but Nymeo Federal Credit Union began sponsoring the field effective with the 2015 season. The stadium itself is named for Harry Grove, who helped found a team that played in Frederick between the two World Wars and whose family donated a portion of the money to build the new stadium.

Getting to the Game

The park is located near the freeway interchange of I-70, I-270, and US 15. The easiest access from out of town is to use the MD 85 exit off either I-70 (exit 54) or I-270 (exit 31).

Parking is free, and available both in front of the park (on Stadium Drive) and behind right field (on New Design Road).

Watching the Game

The cheapest game-day ticket is general admission, for $11 as of 2012. The club does sell advance tickets for $2 less, but online orders incur service charges that eat into any potential savings. The GA ticket allows the fan to sit on the aluminum benches above the cross aisle beyond the home plate area. Seats with backs, either below the cross aisle or behind home plate, cost more.

The game is visible from most concession areas, although the souvenir stand, appropriately called “New Designs” in homage to New Design Road, is directly behind home plate, which is also where the press box is located.

Lineups are posted on a backlit marquee behind home plate, where one can also find the current standing of the teams, including games behind but not won-lost records. Names of batters and of relief pitchers are generally posted on the video board or on a ribbon display below the scoreboard. Announcements of substitutions are made proficiently. This is good, as the rosters printed in the free half-size handout program may be outdated by as much as a month. The information booth behind home plate may, or may not, have a statistics printout available.

Enjoying the Game

Very few areas of the park are shaded or sheltered. The skyboxes do extend two sections beyond the length of the press box on each side, providing some shelter, but the concourse is not a great place to watch the game. Be sure to apply sunscreen, wear a hat, or bring a poncho or umbrella as appropriate.

There is no view to speak of; even the I-70 freeway is obscured by a triple-height advertising-laden outfield wall. There is also no outfield seating, although there are grass berms down either foul line.

The park does offer a kids’ play zone, including a carousel, down the right-field line.

Concessions seemed overpriced for high Class A.

During the seventh-inning stretch, after they do one chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, fans pull out their keys and shake them to a peppy tune. After all, this is the Keys they’re rooting for.

Game # Date League Level Result
86 Sun 8-Aug-1993 Carolina A Kinston 5, FREDERICK 1
581 Sat 5-Apr-2003 Carolina A Lynchburg 17, FREDERICK 8
1235 Mon 3-Sep-2012 Carolina A FREDERICK 5, Carolina 2
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This page updated 5-Feb-2015