Here at the Jersey shore, we love our sports teams. Most of us support the teams from New York City and some from Philadelphia. Even though we have to travel an hour away to most of their stadiums, we get in our cars or take the train or bus with our friends and go root for the teams that are dear to our hearts. When it comes to baseball, for the most part, you're either going to be a Yankees, Mets or even Phillies fan.
However, there is one local team that — despite your favorite baseball team — you can still root for because they are in our community and we love supporting them and they love us back. The Lakewood BlueClaws came to the shore in the summer of 2001, and since then, shore residents and visitors have been visiting the ballpark over and over again, some all summer long. With so many different events every night, it's no wonder why fans keep coming back.
What is really special is that the BlueClaws are a team that even though they're a Phillies farm team, fans of the Yankees and Mets come and root on the 'Claws. Also, if you live at the shore and want a cheaper fun experience without taking a subway or driving over a couple of bridges, the BlueClaws are centrally located in Lakewood, NJ, a town that has seen a population explosion in the past 10 years. If you want fun within a baseball game, this is the place for you. BlueClaws games offer not only special promotional nights (such as my favorite, "Firework Friday") there, are two races that will get you cheering in your seats or on the concourse. Everyone runs to get a view of the "Eyeball Race" and, of course, the pork roll and eggs race. No matter what day of the week these races will keep you laughing and wanting more.
The BlueClaws are a part of the Jersey shore summer experience. When visitors from the north come to hit the beach and see a baseball game, they come from all over — and they all have a great time. The team really has become a part of the area. The stadium hosts events all year long and the mascot, "Buster," travels around the two county shore areas to parties and different town events to make people smile and laugh. The team organization does an wonderful job at helping out the community and being there in times of need — it shows that they are not just a team looking to make money but they are here to help the community.
I will always remember my first BlueClaws game. It was several years after the team started in 2003. It was cold night in April. Despite the bad weather, I remember enjoying the small-crowd atmosphere that I wasn't use to seeing at bigger stadiums in New York. I also saw fans cheering on a team of young players who hope to make the big leagues. It was something that has brought me back year after year since then. They have gone through some changes since then, but so have I, and it feels like we have all grown up together and that they will always be a part of my Jersey shore summer.