Though Father’s Day is rapidly approaching, there’s still time to plan a memorable outing for dad. For families catering to fathers who like to follow sports, there’s always an afternoon watching America’s Pastime at the ballpark. So we put together the best baseball options in NJ (plus NY and Philly, if dad is really craving a Major League game) for Father’s Day weekend.
It’s true that New Jersey doesn’t have a Major League team, but there are several pro teams who call the Garden State home. The Trenton Thunder and Lakewood BlueClaws are NJ-based Minor League affiliates of the Yankees and Phillies, respectively. In addition, the Somerset Patriots, who compete in the Atlantic League, and the Sussex County Miners (the Can-Am League) are professional independent teams that play in New Jersey. In short, there are a variety of options available to dads who want to watch a pro game over the holiday weekend.
Non-Major League Games
When and where: June 18. The first game of doubleheader starts at 12:00 pm at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton.
Details: The Thunder, the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate, are scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Erie SeaWolves on Father’s Day, with the first game beginning at noon. Some of the most promising prospects in New York’s farm system are playing in the Eastern League for the Thunder this year and Bronx bombers fans might even get to see southpaw Justus Sheffield start. The Yankees acquired Sheffield and prospect Clint Frazier along with two other players for reliever Andrew Miller last season. Sheffield and fellow Thunder starter Domingo Acevedo, who was recently promoted from Class A Advanced Tampa, are two players Yankees fans should keep an eye on in coming years.
Father’s Day bonus: There’s a Necktie Giveaway for the first 1,000 men 18 and older.
More info: www.trentonthunder.com or http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t567
When and where: June 18, 1:05 pm at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.
Details: The BlueClaws have been the Phillies’ Class A affiliate since 2001. Several members of the Phillies’ 2008 championship squad played in Lakewood before making the big leagues, including former NL MVP Ryan Howard, World Series MVP Cole Hamels and his former batterymate, Carlos Ruiz. Now, fans can head to Lakewood to check out the next wave of Philadelphia stars, most notably outfielder Mickey Moniak, the top overall pick in the 2016 Draft. Moniak has a long way to go before reaching the Majors, but he’s off to a promising start in his first full season in the Minors.
Father’s Day bonus: Fathers and their kids can play catch on the field after the game. In addition, the first 1,500 adults (21 and older) will receive a BlueClaws BBQ Apron (courtesy of Advance Auto Parts).
More info: www.blueclaws.com or http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t427
When and where: June 18, 1:05 pm at TD Bank Ballpark in Somerset.
Details: One of the founding members of the Atlantic League in 1998, the Somerset Patriots have won six league championships in the past two decades, more than any other team. On Father’s Day, the Patriots take on the York Revolution, but there will be plenty of entertainment at TD Bank Ballpark besides the game. From Noon – 12:30 pm, there will be a pre-game autograph session. In addition, there will be a dad-and-kids catch and fans can run the bases after the game.
Father’s Day bonus: The first 2,000 dads at the game will receive a free t-shirt.
More info: http://www.somersetpatriots.com/
Sussex County Miners
When and where: June 18, 2:05 pm at Skylands Stadium in Augusta.
Details: The Sussex County Miners joined the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, often known as the Can-Am League, before the 2015 season. The six-team league features another Garden State squad, the Jersey Jackals, who play their home games at Yogi Berra Stadium in Little Falls. The Minors offer several Sunday specials and promotions; for example, children 12 and younger get in free (but must be accompanied by a paid adult). Kids can run the bases after the game and there are also post-game autographs and photo opportunities with Minors players.
More info: http://sussexcountyminers.com/
Vintage Baseball at Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel
When and where: June 17, Noon – 2:30 pm at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel.
Details: The Monmouth Furnace Base Ball Club will take on the Hoboken Base Ball Club in a vintage game that offers baseball fans a glimpse of the sport as it was played in the 19th century. The players will dress in the same uniforms that were worn during the time period and play using the same rules. This event is free. To see the entire 2017 schedule for the Hoboken Base Ball Club, visit the team’s website: https://hobokennine.jimdo.com/
More info: https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/eventcalendar.aspx
Major League Games
New York Mets
When and where: June 18, 1:10 pm at Citi Field in Queens.
Details: While Mets fans know all too well that there are no guarantees when it comes to the health of the team’s starters, it appears Jacob deGrom’s turn in the rotation will come up against the Washington Nationals on Father’s Day this year. If you’re not in the mood for a hot dog or traditional baseball food, Citi Field offers plenty of unique, delicious options, including Shake Shack, David Chang’s Fuku and Blue Smoke, to name a few.
Father’s Day bonus: The first 15,000 fans at the game will receive a Father’s Day Cap, presented by Nathan’s Famous.
More info: https://www.mlb.com/mets
When and where: June 18, 1:35 pm at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Details: If you’re looking to take in a big league game in South Jersey, Citizens Bank Park is the place. The Phillies are scheduled to play the finale of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 18th.
Father’s Day bonus: The game features a pre-game tribute dedicated to all dads; and the club is giving away a free Hawaiian shirt to men ages 15 and older.
More info: https://www.mlb.com/phillies
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © WavebreakMediaMicro / Adobe Stock
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Trenton Thunder / Facebook
Lakewood BlueClaws / Facebook
Somerset Patriots / Facebook
Sussex County Miners / Facebook
Hoboken Baseball Club / Website
Citi Field: Scott Clarke / ESPN Images
Phillie Phanatic: Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images