Bridgewater, NJ – On Tuesday, November 10th, the Somerset Patriots welcomed baseball icons, local elected officials, partners, and fans to announce the team’s selection as the new Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
“This was a true partnership between the Somerset Patriots and our community and continues to be so,” said Somerset Patriots Chairman Emeritus Steve Kalafer. “In welcoming the New York Yankees, we have agreed to make this the state-of-the-art minor league facility so that every ballplayer that comes through here will be able to reach their maximum potential.”
The Yankees announced their selection of the Somerset Patriots as their Double-A affiliate on Saturday in a team issued press release.
“Restructuring our minor league affiliations — especially with the additions of Somerset and Hudson Valley — gives us greater continuity to streamline and improve the development of our minor league system,” said Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman. “The relationships we have formed with all of our teams will allow for a more consistent application of training with similarly aligned facilities in terms of structure, quality and ease of travel. We are confident that these changes will greatly benefit our players and Yankees fans for many years to come.”
The Kalafer family was represented at the event by Steve and his two sons, Co-Chairmen Jonathan and Josh, who opened TD Bank Ballpark to the community for a safe and socially distanced event.
“I can honestly say that I have never looked forward to the baseball season more than I am looking forward to this one,” said Jonathan Kalafer. “I’m looking forward to being excellent partners for the New York Yankees and providing the best possible experience for our fans, their players, and the community.”
Yankees and MLB icons Joe Torre, Willie Randolph and Sparky Lyle helped ring in the change of the franchise from the independent Atlantic League to the affiliated Double-A level.
“I feel George Steinbrenner would have been very proud of this marriage between the Somerset Patriots and the New York Yankees based on the fact that he liked winners,” Torre said. “And this ballclub, this organization, and this ballpark has seen its share of winners.”
Somerset’s on-field success is evidenced by the six Atlantic League championships and the over 1,500 games won over 22 seasons of play.
The Somerset Patriots have been a model of success, drawing over 7,500,000 fans throughout its history. The team averages 5,200 fans per game and 360,000 fans per season.
Somerset County Freeholder Director Shanel Robinson spoke of the partnership between the Somerset Patriots and the county. To date, the team has paid over $21 million to the county for its occupancy of TD Bank Ballpark in a very unique public-private partnership that has kept the ballpark taxpayer neutral.
“Somerset County could not have a better partner in building healthy, family recreation like we have here today at TD Bank Ballpark,” said Robinson. “I can say our partnership was culminating in this new partnership with the New York Yankees. But from what I have seen from the Patriots organization, we are going to keep building into the future, and the best is yet to come.”
Bridgewater Township Mayor Matt Moench added: “the job that Steve and his family have done of building this organization into a true community organization is second to none. And when we combine the brands of the Somerset Patriots with the New York Yankees, it’s unstoppable. And it’s an enduring legacy that Steve and his family will be leaving to this community.”
The team has existed as an independent team since 1998 and gained a reputation of excellence throughout the baseball community. The Somerset Patriots played a crucial role in the development of the partnership between the Atlantic League and Major League Baseball that has grown over the past two seasons.
Longtime Somerset Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry credited the staff, the team’s partners, and the community as a whole for the opportunity to join the Yankees organization.
“I’d like to thank our staff, coaches, players, marketing partners, and fans for helping us build something very special here,” said McVerry. “Over two decades ago, an empty parking lot became this beautiful ballpark. And now, the New York Yankees, the most recognizable sports brand in the world, is coming to TD Bank Ballpark.”
A big part of the team’s mission is to be a positive force in the community. The Somerset Patriots have donated over $5,500,000 to charities throughout the state of New Jersey and the Tri-State area since the team began.
“We’ve done this with the wonderful people we work with. We’ve done this with the wonderful people that come out to the ballpark. And we’ve done it in a way with everyone in the community,” said Josh Kalafer. “Never did we imagine that we would have the opportunity to be a part of the New York Yankees organization. It is the beginning of yet another incredible chapter in this long and beautiful journey that we are so grateful to be able to share with you.”
The radio voice of the Yankees, John Sterling, opened the festivities and welcomed everyone in attendance to the monumental day.
“Now the Somerset Patriots join the New York Yankees, the most famous name, the winningest organization in our sport’s history,” said Sterling.
The Somerset Patriots will announce more information regarding the schedule and 2021 season information in the coming weeks.
Since the announcement was made over the weekend, the team has received an overwhelming response for ticket information and are now accepting deposits for plans to guarantee spots for the upcoming season.
About The Somerset Patriots
The Somerset Patriots are the new Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Stay up to date on all Somerset Patriots news online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.