The event will include a pre-game ceremony with Somerset County officials, team representatives, and other special guests celebrating the past, present, and future of TD Bank Ballpark. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to be able to enjoy the pre-game festivities beginning around 6:40 pm.
Since it opened its gates for the first Somerset Patriots home game on June 7, 1999, TD Bank Ballpark has been called the “Jewel of the Atlantic League.” The 6,100 seat ballpark has become one of the premier family and community destinations in Central New Jersey.
The ballpark was designed by Clarke Caton & Hintz and SSP Architectural Group and built by Epic Construction. The ballpark’s ground breaking took place at what is now home plate on April 29, 1998 with a special ceremony that included team representatives and Somerset County elected officials.
The ballpark was envisioned from day one to be a safe and intimate place for fans to enjoy a game with family and friends. The Patriots have consistently welcomed over 5,300 fans per game and over 360,000 fans annually to the ballpark, making it one of the top drawing venues in all of minor league baseball.
“This public-private partnership between Somerset County, the Freeholders, and the Somerset Patriots could only go forward if there was no expense or subsidy to the taxpayers. This is the business model that has been in place from day one and still exists today,” said Steve Kalafer, Chairman of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club.
TD Bank Ballpark has been the home of two Atlantic League All-Star Games in 2000 and 2008. The 2008 event set a league mark for attendance with 8,290 fans and saw special guests including billionaire Donald Trump and baseball greats Don Zimmer and Jim Frey.
The ballpark has been honored with two selections in Baseball America’s “Great Ballparks” calendars in 2000 and 2005. The Atlantic League also named TD Bank Ballpark the “Ballpark of the Year” for the 2007 season.
In addition to 70 Patriots home games, the ballpark is a multi-use facility that has been the home to several events. TD Bank Ballpark has hosted college baseball championship tournaments for the Big East and the Northeast Conference. Each year, the ballpark is the site for the Somerset County Baseball Championships at the end of May. This year, the Patriots welcomed back the Greater Middlesex Conference High School Championships for the first time since 2005.
Other sporting events held at the location have included Sky Blue FC Women’s Professional Soccer games, Major League Lacrosse, and Professional Cricket.
Somerset County Park Commission has used the ballpark to host concerts that have included big name acts such as Jessica Simpson, Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis and Tony Bennett.
Every year for over a decade, the ballpark has also been the site for the Big Apple Circus.
As the ballpark celebrates its 15th Anniversary, it has become a part of the very fabric of Somerset County and Central New Jersey.
“I’ve had the good fortune of starting and owning many different enterprises. This one has become the most personal to three generations of our family. 15 years later as Suzanne and I, Jonathan and Kori, Joshua and Rachel, and our five grandchildren come to TD Bank Ballpark, we look at each other with tremendous joy and appreciation for the support that our fans and marketing partners have given to the Somerset Patriots,” Kalafer said.
The 2013 Somerset Patriots season presented by Ford is underway. For tickets, call (908) 252-0700 or visit http://www.somersetpatriots.com.
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Thanks to John Cerone for the news.