NJ Minor League Baseball Teams Complete First Post-COVID Seasons

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In April, we inquired about the three New Jersey minor league baseball teams with Major League affiliations, one of which had such an unusual season that its MLB partnership, by design, didn’t. not even lasted all summer.

This did not prevent the Trenton Thunder, in particular the “bat dog” Rookie, from go viral over the past week, when Rookie prematurely took the field while making an appearance in a Buffalo Bisons game.

The Bisons have played much of their 2021 home schedule in Trenton, due to their parent club, the Toronto Blue Jays, regularly adapting to Buffalo thanks to COVID-19 travel restrictions since lifted.

It was also an unforgettable end to the year for the Somerset Patriots, who, in their first season as a New York Yankees affiliate, narrowly missed the Double-A playoffs by losing their season finale there. has two Sundays.

But the biggest news for the Bridgewater Ball Club was that their playground was completely submerged in floodwaters from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 1-2.

Patriots president and general manager Patrick McVerry said that despite some loss of personal items and equipment, he was happy that team staff were able to get the field back to playing condition for a final weekend. end after the storm.

It all ended in a difficult, but ultimately successful, comeback for New Jersey minor league teams after a full year off due to the pandemic.

Greg Giombarrese, director of communications for the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, said his team paid particular attention to advice from Ocean County, New Jersey State, Major League Baseball and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , relaxing certain protocols if necessary. the season was advancing.

“The fans were very receptive to it, our staff were very receptive, and I think everyone really wanted to go back to the stadium and enjoy BlueClaws baseball together,” Giombarrese said.

The BlueClaws continued their long-standing partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2021, but did so while expanding their reach somewhat, having changed their branding from Lakewood to Jersey Shore starting this season.

Giombarrese said it had had a tangible impact, noting that some of the team’s best-selling products this summer were clothing that read “Jersey Shore” on it.

Around mid-summer, he said the experience of attending a BlueClaws game was about the same as it was before 2020. This was reflected in the attendance figures, which Giombarrese said doubled. per game from start to finish of the season.

“I think two of our three biggest crowds of the season came on the last weekend of the year, September 10-11, so it was definitely very exciting and bodes well for heading into 2022,” did he declare.

McVerry is also eager to consider next season, but said he’s taking the time to reflect on all the Patriots accomplished in 2021.

“It was a whirlwind. I can’t believe it’s over. It ended pretty abruptly, but at the same time it’s a good time to reflect and be proud of our staff (and) our people. fans who have supported us throughout, ”he said. . “Honestly at this point I can’t wait until 2022. I think it’s going to be an amazing season, and it can’t come soon enough.”

Patrick Lavery is the anchor for the New Jersey 101.5 afternoon news. Follow it on Twitter @ plavery1015 or send an email to [email protected]

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