Sports

2017: Record Numbers Add Up to a Season to Remember for Somerset Patriots Fans

A record crowd of 8,131 fans came to TD Bank Ballpark for Game 3 of the playoffs in late September. Credits: Courtesy Somerset Patriots
Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie slaps high fives with members of his team during Opening Day ceremonies. Credits: Courtesy Somerset Patriots

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The 2017 season was billed as an All-Star Summer for the Somerset Patriots, and though the team did not win the Atlantic League championship, there was much to celebrate during the team’s 20th Season.

The Somerset Patriots led the Atlantic League in attendance with 363,431 total fans for an average of 5,267 fans per game. It was the second-straight season that the team led the league in total attendance and marked the first time in league history that the Somerset Patriots topped the league in both total and average attendance.

“The support from our fans and partners never ceases to amaze me,” said Somerset Patriots Chairman Steve Kalafer. “To accomplish all we did this year, 20 seasons later, is remarkable. It shows that we continue to grow. That we continue to reinvent ourselves and make the Somerset Patriots more and more relevant each year. I could not be more proud of this season or more excited about our future.”

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The Somerset Patriots hosted the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game at TD Bank Ballpark on July 12th with 8,175 fans coming out to enjoy the Mid-Summer Classic that featured a Revolutionary War theme and special guests former Yankees player and Big League manager Willie Randolph and Yankees broadcaster John Sterling.

A record 12 players had their contracts purchased by Major League organizations, most of whom reported to Triple-A. Pitcher Tyler Cloyd joined the Seattle Mariners and reached MLB just weeks after signing with their organization. He became the fastest player in team history to go from Somerset to the Big Leagues, reaching the game’s biggest stage in just a month. Cloyd became the 18th Somerset Patriots player to be promoted to Major League Baseball in the franchise’s 20 seasons.

“One of our goals putting the team together is always to find the best players that will represent us well on and off the field,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Another one is to provide these very talented players with the opportunities to go back to Major League Baseball. We had unbelievable success having all these contracts purchased this year. As tough as it is to lose these players during the season, it is one of the reasons they come here, to be seen and prove they can play at a very high level. We couldn’t be happier for their success.”

Four former Somerset Patriots were in the Major Leagues this year, setting a record for most alumni on MLB rosters in a single season in franchise history (Buddy Boshers and Nik Turley with the Minnesota Twins, Chris Marrero with the San Francisco Giants, and Tyler Cloyd with the Seattle Mariners).

Despite all the player movement in 2017, the Somerset Patriots were the Liberty Division First Half Champions to claim a league-record 18th Half Title. With it, the Patriots made their record 14th appearance in the Atlantic League postseason.

“I thought we accomplished a lot of positives this year. We came out playing good baseball,” added Jodie. “We had a certain amount of goals around here, made the playoffs, won a lot of games and got a lot of people back to where they needed to be. I’m very proud of the whole team to come back and compete at a very high level after losing that many guys.”

The excitement surrounding the team was clear this fall, when fans showed up in force for Game 3 of the Liberty Division Series at TD Bank Ballpark. A new league record of 8,131 fans entered "The Jewel of the Atlantic League" on that beautiful autumn evening. The Somerset Patriots held the previous record several times, most recently with 7,835 fans in 2015.

As part of the 20th Season Anniversary, the team recognized the Top 20 Patriots players in team history as voted on by fans and expert voters. Great names like Josh Pressley, Billy Hall, Jeff Nettles, Emiliano Escandon and more were honored throughout the season.

With all the accomplishments of 2017 in the books, the Somerset Patriots are already planning for the 2018 season.

It will be the 20th season that the team will play at TD Bank Ballpark. Fans can look for various improvements, with new areas being discussed as part of the celebration.

“Everybody that knows us knows that we look to come back better year-after-year on the field and in every facet of our organization,” said Somerset Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry. “We continue to grow and improve the fan experience, the opportunities available to our partners, and we can’t wait to make 2018 a year that everyone will remember.”

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