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Minor League Mania at New Jersey Ballparks


minor league baseballAt a recent family gathering, my kids’ great-uncle asked them if they were Mets or Yankees fans.

“Neither,” my 7-year-old answered. “We’re Patriots fans.”

No, she wasn’t talking about the New England football team. She was referring to Jersey’s own minor league baseball club, the Somerset Patriots.

If you haven’t checked out your own minor league team, you should. The price is right, the travel’s a breeze, the kid-friendly amenities are plentiful, and the Jersey pride is palpable! There are also a plethora of promotions offered by each one. Here are some of the coolest; check teams’ websites for a full list. The season runs through September.

Camden Riversharks


May promotions: 

  • 5/9: Opening day and Riversharks cooler bags to first 1,000 fans
  • 5/11: Avengers Night 

Look forward to:

  • 7/11: Atlantic League All-Star Game
  • 8/25: Star Wars Night

Lakewood BlueClaws


May promotions:

  • 5/12: “Bark in the Park” (bring Fido to the game!)
  • 5/23: Jumbo baseball card giveaway to first 2,000 fans
  • 5/26: BlueClaws visor giveaway to first 2,000 fans

Look forward to:

  • Sundays and Mondays: kids eat free! Sundays are also “Kids Character” days, and youngsters can run the bases post-game

New Jersey Jackals

Upper Montclair

May Promotions:

  • 5/29: Home opener

Look forward to:

Go to a Friday or Saturday night game (depending on the team) and see fireworks! Check websites for details.
  • “Family fun” Sundays: $1 hot dogs, post-game autographs, and run around the bases
  • 7/6: Jackals batting helmet giveaway to first 1,000 fans
  • Last week in August: Fan Appreciation Week—get special deals on food and merchandise and a surprise giveaway

Newark Bears


May promotions:

  • 5/17: Opening day

Look forward to:

  • Mondays: “Boys and Their Toys” (attractions like car shows and bike clubs)
  • Sundays: honor the history of the Bears and the Eagles and see other pro-athletes and baseball legends
  • 7/11–7/13, 7/25-7/27: Youth Baseball Clinics:  participants are trained by players and professional coaches

Somerset Patriots


May promotions:

  • 5/4: 15th anniversary t-shirts to first 2,000 fans
  • 5/26: Mini-bats to first 2,000 fans 

Look forward to:

  • 6/26: Thomas the Tank Engine
  • 7/1: Pre-game baseball clinic and autographs, post-game time for kids to run the bases (kids can run the bases after every Sunday game)

Trenton Thunder


May promotions:

  • 5/4: Thunder pillowcases to first 1,000 fans
  • 5/11, 5/21-23: bobblehead giveaways; check website for details and 
other dates

Look forward to:

  • Tuesdays: kids eat free!
  • 7/22: Lil’ Webkinz giveaway to first 1,000 fans 

Renée Sagiv Riebling is a freelance writer from central New Jersey. Her 
family is always on the lookout for new and exciting adventures.

Which minor league team does your family root for?

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