TD Bank Ballpark – Somerset Patriots
Photos by Marc Viquez and Matt Collins, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
TD Bank Ballpark 1 Patriots Park Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 6,100
The Somerset Patriots baseball team plays their home games at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The ballpark holds 6,100 but can accommodate 8,500 people if standing room is taken into account. The team is the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. The team began its relationship with the Yankees this past offseason (2021) after being members of the independent Atlantic League since their inception in 1998. Despite 2021 being their initial season as a Yankee affiliate, they have always had a connection to the famed franchise as former Yankees pitcher Sparky Lyle was team manager from 1998 to 2012.
Food & Beverage 3
TD Bank Ballpark has numerous food options throughout the concourse. There are main concession stands on both the first and third base sides. These stands offer a cheeseburger for $8.75 and a hot dog for $4.75. A cheesesteak costs $12.50 and chicken tenders with fries are $9.75. The fries are excellent but the chicken tenders leave something to be desired and the cheesesteak is way more steak than cheese.
An ice cream stand, a Premio sausage kiosk, and the Garden State Grill, which offers the stereotypically Jersey dish of pork roll, also line the concourse. Major concession stands accept cash as well as debit/credit cards. In terms of drinks, there is no official soda brand and the park offers Dr. Pepper, Coke, and Sprite for $4.75. Premium beer is $8.75 and a domestic beer is $8.25.
TD Bank Ballpark is laid out in the typical style of many minor league ballparks built in the 90s and 2000s. Lower deck seating winds from the right field line to left field and the upper deck is reserved for private parties and more expensive seating. There is no outfield seating as the outfield wall is made up of ads for local businesses and schools. There isn’t a bad seat in the house for a night game. The lack of an overhang could pose a problem on a hot summer day, however.
The stadium scoreboard is excellent, showing pitch speed and the newly implemented pitch clock as well as player stats. Free WiFi is not available at the stadium. In terms of in-game entertainment, perhaps the most odious event of all is a call and response that has a recording of what sounds like a drunk guy yelling “Somerset” and the fans responding “Patriots.” Besides the soused man recording, the Patriots mascot, a dog named Sparkee after Sparky Lyle, is active and worshipped by kids at the game. The PA announcer has a perfect voice for his job and the team also has a hype man that introduces things like a Yankees trivia contest and a race between Sparkee and a young kid.
TD Bank Ballpark isn’t like stadiums located right in the middle of a city or a residential neighborhood. This doesn’t mean it’s in the middle of a cornfield like Field of Dreams. It is across from Bridgewater Promenade, which features a Costco, a Starbucks, and a Trader Joe’s. Bridgewater itself is mainly malls but located less than five minutes away are Bound Brook and Somerville which contain downtown areas with restaurants and bars.
Bound Brook is a town that has seen a resurgence in recent years due to the construction of condominiums along the Raritan River. Somerville is a town seen by Somerset County residents as the county’s cultural capital and a trendy place in a county that is marked by large mansions amidst horse farms. Mannion’s Pub and Alfonso’s Trattoria are two restaurants in Somerville that visitors to the park can check out, and Bridgewater has both a Marriott and Hampton Inn.
Local attractions include the USGA Golf Museum in Liberty Corner, about 10 minutes away off Route 287, and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, which hosts plays and concerts. It is located about 15 minutes away and is reopening this fall after being closed for renovations.
The crowd at TD Bank Ballpark was quite large at the game Stadium Journey attended, but that comes with the caveat that two Yankees (Corey Kluber and Gio Urshela) were rehabbing with the team that night. Large crowds can be expected at TD Bank on nights when the injured pros aren’t there as well. The team led their former league in attendance frequently and the new affiliation with the Yankees will only increase these numbers. Fans of the Patriots are very engaged. The team makes an effort to reach out to local Somerset and Hunterdon county communities and encourage people to buy season tickets. The fans that attend Patriots games are loud, respectful, and in their seats throughout the game instead of milling about on the concourse.
The area where the ballpark shines the most is access. While at a game their fans can see firsthand how accessible the park is. Cars race by on Route 287 in the distance beyond left field. 287 loops around Central Jersey and can even easily accommodate visitors from Staten Island and Rockland County, New York.
The whistle of an NJ Transit train as it stops at the Bridgewater Train Station behind center field often causes batters to call time in the batter’s box. While the train is an annoyance to batters, it is perfect for getting people from points both north and west (NYC, Newark, Elizabeth, Hunterdon County) to a game easily.
Two large parking lots weren’t close to being full despite the large crowds the Patriots get, a wonderful older woman scanning tickets at the right field gate, and tickets were both hard copy tickets and accessible by phone. Moving around the stadium is easy during a game because most of the crowd sits in their assigned seats. Concessions lines move quickly and the bathrooms are clean and line and odor-free.
Return on Investment 3
Lower level tickets range from $13.50 to $17 and suite seating is $26. $26 for a suite is a bargain compared to some other stadium’s prices. Food and drink could be construed as expensive but this park is better than professional stadiums in terms of overpricing. Parking is $5, a program is $10, and a scorecard is $2. The cost of public transportation varies depending on where you’re coming from but it costs $29.50 round trip to get to Bridgewater from Manhattan and everything closer than that will be less.
-Speed Pitch activity for kids (or adults who are still kids at heart) down the right field line
-Team store on the concourse behind home plate
-A final extra point for the team’s long relationship with Sparky Lyle. The team’s mascot is named after Lyle and there is a statue honoring him near the entrance to the ballpark.
Anyone in the tri-state area (Yankees fans or otherwise) looking for fun on a picturesque summer day should check out a Somerset Patriots game at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater.