More improvements are coming to Tucker Field at Barcroft Park after the Arlington County Board approved a 10-year extension to its partnership with George Washington University.
Under the agreement, unanimously approved by the Board at its meeting Tuesday, GW will fully fund the construction of a new clubhouse as well as indoor and outdoor batting cages, which are also available for community use. Earlier this year, the university received an anonymous $2 million gift to fund the new clubhouse.
GW’s baseball team has played home games at Tucker Field in the park at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive since 1992. It also contributes funding each year for the field’s ongoing maintenance and repairs.
“This public-private partnership with GW is a good deal for county taxpayers, for baseball and softball in Arlington, and for GW,” said County Board chair Jay Fisette in a statement. “The university’s home field has been vastly improved, and the community has access to a top-quality field. These new amenities will make Tucker Field even more useful — and fun — for all who play there.”
The two parties last signed an agreement in 2011, with GW upgrading the field and nearby facilities in time for the following year. It has invested more than $3 million in upgrades, including the county’s first synthetic turf diamond field, expanded seating, covered dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, expanded parking and more.
The field also hosts five camps in five weeks each summer, as well as tournaments for the county’s All-Star Babe Ruth League and the 2015 Atlantic-10 Conference baseball tournament.
“Our partnership with Arlington County has been mutually beneficial, and we are excited to extend our agreement with the county,” GW athletic director Patrick Nero said in a statement. “It has allowed us to provide an excellent home ballpark for our student-athletes, a ballpark that will be even better with the new clubhouse and enclosed batting cages. We look forward to hosting the Atlantic-10 Championship at Tucker Field in 2018. At the same time, Arlington county youth have the opportunity to play at a premier venue as they learn and grow through sports.”
First Board Meeting With New Rule — Saturday will be the Arlington County Board’s first meeting with a new public participation rule. Whereas members of the public could previously request that any “consent agenda” item be pulled and discussed individually at the next Board meeting, the new rule requires at least one Board member to concur with the action. [InsideNova]
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GW Gets Donation for Baseball Clubhouse — George Washington University has received an anonymous $2 million gift that will fund a new proposed clubhouse at Tucker Field in Arlington’s Barcroft Park. The clubhouse will feature “on-site locker facilities, indoor practice space with batting cages and pitching tunnels, meeting rooms and a sports medicine area.” [GW Sports]
Teen’s Hair Lit on Fire at Inauguration — A 17-year-old Arlington girl’s hair was lit on fire at an inauguration protest in D.C. It happened on Inauguration Day, near the National Archives, as the girl posed in front of protesters while wearing pro-Trump apparel. [Buzzfeed]
Clement, Roosevelt to Run for Office — Independent Audrey Clement has filed to run again for Arlington County Board this year. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Army veteran Adam Roosevelt, a Republican, is challenging Del. Alfonso Lopez (D). [InsideNova, InsideNova]
D.C. Area Snow Drought — Will we see any significant snowfall this winter? It’s looking increasingly bleak for snow lovers, with only a few flurries in the forecast during what should be our peak snow period. [Washington Post]
Peter Chang Fast Casual Restaurant in Arlington — Chef Peter Chang, who has a large following in Northern Virginia, is in lease negotiations for the Oriental Gourmet space at 2503 N. Harrison Street. Chang hopes to open Peter Chang Wok, envisioned as a fast casual Chinese restaurant. Chang only plans to make “a few cosmetic changes” to Oriental Gourmet, which is still open, after taking over the lease. [Washington Post]
Cherrydale Plan Passes — Cherrydale has a new Neighborhood Conservation plan. The plan, approved by the County Board on Tuesday, calls for protecting trees, ensuring sidewalks are wide enough for strollers and those with disabilities, timely utility maintenance, more daycare opportunities and infrastructure for residents to age in place. [Arlington County]
Top County Staff Gets Raise — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday voted to give a 3.4 percent raise to the three county employees it’s permitted by law to hire directly: County Manager Barbara Donnellan, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac and Clerk to the County Board Hope Halleck. The annual salary for Donnellan — who’s in charge of the county government and its more than 3,800 employees — will increase to $269,742. [InsideNova]
Abundance of Busted Pipes — This week Arlington County firefighters have responded to a steady stream of calls for busted water pipes in buildings around the county. “Please make sure you know where your water shut off is in case it happens to you,” the fire department tweeted. [Twitter]
Abingdon Street House Fire — Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement of a home on the 100 block of N. Abingdon Street on Wednesday morning. One person had to flee the home, reportedly while only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but no injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Court Ruling May Cost Arlington Millions — A ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court on a tax dispute in Arlington County may cost Arlington and other Virginia localities millions of dollars in lost business license tax revenue. The court ruled that companies with offices in multiple states may deduct certain out-of-state earnings from their license tax. [Washington Post]
GW Baseball Blanks Georgetown — In a chilly game at Arlington’s Barcroft Park that we previewed Wednesday, the George Washington University baseball team defeated Georgetown in a 3-0 shutout. [GW Sports]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Because Tucker Field at Barcroft Park is artificial turf, with the exception of the pitching mound, batter’s box and bullpen, the team has been able to practice outdoors most days, and has already played two home games; a win and a loss against the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Many youth baseball players remember especially cold days as especially painful, with balls hit off the end of the bat resulting in hands stinging with pain for several minutes. But for serious college athletes, the cold is roundly ignored.
“It’s all a mental thing,” graduate student and fifth-year pitcher Craig LeJeune said in a phone interview today. “We’ve just got to wear a lot more shirts and undershirts. Once you get out there and warm up, you just go out there and play like it’s any other day.”
The Colonials’ third game is today at 2:30 p.m. against Georgetown University, at Barcroft Park. In between their two season-opening games against NJIT, the Colonials have had three games cancelled and two, against Georgetown and the University of Virginia, postponed.
The cancelled games have not meant that the Colonials have gotten a break. They have had some indoor practices, but most of their work has been outdoors, including when the field is still covered in snow.
“The biggest thing we like to do is keep it high-energy and high-tempo so the cold doesn’t really affect us,” assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Dave Lorber said. “If you’re doing the right things and running an efficient practice, the cold is not something you’re even thinking about.”
After hosting Georgetown tomorrow, Tucker Field will be the site of a three-game series against Niagara University this weekend. The Colonials start play against Atlantic 10 opponents March 20 with a trio of games against St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
LeJeune said this year’s goal is to qualify for the A-10 tournament, played at Barcroft Park for the first time May 20-24.
“We want to make that [tournament] and defend the Tuck,” he said.
By the time that tournament rolls around, the arctic temperatures of this month will be a distant memory. Right now, though, LeJeune and his teammates are more concerned with beating Georgetown — and keeping warm.
“When it’s this cold,” LeJeune said, “your fingertips are frozen the whole game.”
It doesn’t hurt that the players have a bit more insulation on their face during this year’s polar vortex. Last year, according to the Washington Post, the head coach had a rule dictating players must be clean-shaven. This year, no one on the team has been allowed to shave since the offseason.
Lorber said it’s important the team stay loose, but no one needs an extra push to practice during a polar vortex.
“I think our guys come with the right mentality — that they want to be at practice whether it’s indoors, outside, on top of a skyscraper, wherever we are,” he said. “We only control what we can control, and that’s our attitude and the effort for the day.”
The park, at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive, is the home field for the baseball team of George Washington University, an A-10 school. The university announced the news earlier this week.
Barcroft Park underwent a $3 million renovation two years ago that upgraded it to a Division I-caliber field. The renovation included expanding the field’s dugouts and adding bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf. Barcroft Park is now “one of the top collegiate facilities in the region,” according to a GW press release.
Next year will be the first time the Colonials host an A-10 championship, although the team won four past championships and competed at the event in 2013 in Charlotte, N.C. GW has played at Barcroft Park since 1993, and has compiled a 331-230-1 record over 23 seasons, the press release said.
The tournament will be held from May 20 to May 23, 2015.
A grand opening was held for the newly renovated Barcroft Baseball Field #6 over the weekend.
The field’s $3 million renovation was paid for by George Washington University. Under an agreement with Arlington County, the school’s baseball team will be able to call the field home for the next 20 years, while the public will still be able to use the renovated facility when it’s not otherwise reserved for GW games or practices.
The new artificial turf field was open for GW’s baseball season last year, but major renovations — including the 500-seat grandstands, heated press box, concession stands, permanent dugouts, GW Colonials-branded entry plaza and reconfigured parking lot — were still under construction during and after the season.
Among those taking part in a ribbon-cutting and first pitch ceremony on Saturday were Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada, GW President Steven Knapp and GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero. GW played Quinnipiac after the grand opening festivities, but lost 4-2.
In addition to serving as a home for the GW baseball team, Field #6 will provide Arlington’s recreational youth baseball leagues “with a near major-league experience,” the county said on its website. GW and Arlington County officials say the long-awaited renovations will provide a big boost to the school’s baseball program and to recreational baseball in Arlington.
“Having played baseball at this university, I can speak firsthand about the incredible strides that have been made from where GW Baseball used to call home to this immaculate facility that ranks among the best in the region and in our conference,” GW Head Coach Gregg Ritchie said in a statement. “For all of the ballplayers that have come through GW over the years, Barcroft Park should serve as a nod of thanks for paving the way.”
“This is a great day for baseball in Arlington,” said Tejada. “Through our very successful partnership with GW, Arlington now has its first turf baseball diamond. I want to thank GW baseball for working with us for nearly two decades in what has become a great partnership with our community. We look forward to enjoying many years of great play on this field by both the Colonials and Arlington baseball leagues.”