When professional baseball returns to the New York/New Jersey area for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, it won’t feature Pete Alonso or Aaron Judge.
It will be played at TD Bank Ballpark, showcasing the Somerset Patriots.
The Patriots, who normally play in the independent Atlantic League, are starting their season on July 17 — one week ahead of MLB’s July 24 opening — with a newly created SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series, the team announced Tuesday.
The series will include 12 games between July 17 and August 22, all against the New Jersey Blasters. All games will be played at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ., and both teams will consist of only local players to limit travel. Games will only be played on Fridays and Saturdays.
“This is the culmination of a tremendous amount of planning, hard work, diligence, and an endless number of Zoom conferences,” Co-Chairman Jonathan Kalafer said. “But we have resolve to fulfill our mission, which is to play baseball and provide America’s pastime for families in this community.”
Somerset’s plans have been vetted by health care professionals and meet all CDC guidelines, according to Chairman Emeritus Steve Kalafer. Currently, the Patriots will admit 450 fans into the ballpark.
“We have been committed since our season was postponed back in March to bring baseball back to Central New Jersey,” President/General Manager Patrick McVerry said in the statement. “We have worked hard to do that the best and safest way possible to give our community something to cheer for once again. We are excited to do our part to put smiles back on people’s faces.”