Cropdusters debuting gorgeous, renovated ballpark

by Rekha Leonard

While the Bethesda Big Train is celebrating 25 years of playing at Shirley Povich Field, a newer team in the Cal Ripken Sr. League is establishing itself with a renovated ballpark. The Cropdusters, which formed in 2021, have revamped their ballpark, elevating the fan experience to new heights.

“We put together a plan a few years ago to overhaul the field completely,” said Cropdusters President Brad Scott. “The first year we ended up getting the bullpens down and the scoreboard. Now we’ve added lights, we’ve added all Bermuda playing surface throughout, and then obviously this fantastic grandstand area with pressbox, along with sound. We have a top of the line stadium sound system as well.”

Whereas last season, fans could be seen enjoying the game from hay bales picnic blankets behind home plate, that area has now been replaced by the nearly 600-seat grandstand. According to Scott, fans have raved about the new seats and sound system, and the plethora of concession and entertainment options certainly add to the experience. The entire Cropdusters team lining the first base line to dance to Cotton Eyed Joe is one of the most loved traditions.

In the three years since the Cropdusters were formed, Scott and general manager Brian Brewer and their team have made drastic changes. And they didn’t expect it all to happen this fast.

“We’ve been very lucky to get some generous funding from our state senator to help us along with the project, Craig Zucker,” said Scott. “It’s moved along a lot quicker than we really thought it would.”

With a project like this costing “in the millions,” according to Scott, the state funding was essential in moving the process along. There’s still more to come as they plan to redo the fencing behind home plate and the dugouts.

The Big Train got to experience the new ballpark for the first time Wednesday night, and manager Sal Colangelo expressed his appreciation for the renovations.

“Brad Scott has done an amazing job,” said Colangelo. “They do it right. He offers a great experience for the players. That’s why they’re going to be competitive for the remainder of the year. It’s nice to see them do that. … Kudos to Brad Scott and his staff for moving in the right direction.”

While the Cropdusters enjoy the field for the summer season, it will benefit the community year round. The Big Train was founded with the mission to raise money to improve youth softball and baseball fields. The Cropdusters’ new field serves a similar purpose.

“Kids that grow up in this area are able to play on such a great field since the Cropdusters use it in June and July and the kids in Olney will get to use it the rest of the year. So we’re excited for that too,” said Scott.