TD Bank Ballpark
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Year Opened
1999

Current Team
Somerset Patriots

Affiliate
None

League
Atlantic League

Capacity
6,700

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium B+ Atmosphere C+ Concessions A-

Photos taken in 2013
The Atlantic League has made a habit of going into densely populated suburbs of big cities - and Bridgewater is no exception - it is a rapidly growing suburb of New York City. The park opened in 1999, and what a beautiful new park it is. Though only part of the independent Atlantic League, this park is on par with the majority of Double-A parks. The park is very similar to many other parks that have been built since 1995 - most resembling nearby Arm and Hammer Park in Trenton.

Hits

  • The ballpark is very spacious, which is needed with the large crowds the Patriots draw. The concourses are plenty wide and the seating bowl is split by a narrow walkway that alleviates some of the traffic from the main concourse. Usually I'm not a fan of splitting the seating with a useless middle concourse, but here it actually works because of how packed the park is on most nights.
  • A large, well stocked team store is located off the concourse behind home plate.
  • The seats are sturdy, wide and the legroom is generous. They definitely did not skimp on seats here as even 15 years after the park opened, they still look to be in great shape.
  • The team's main mascot is Sparkey named after the long time manager of the Patriots, Sparkey Lyle.
  • There is a small bar area located along the third base concourse called The Handle Bar, again named after Sparkey Lyle.
  • The Patriots have been the most successful franchise in the Atlantic League, so it is nice to see that they recognize their history with some large plaques along the concourse.
  • The team does a fair job of keeping the focus on the baseball game. While they do some between inning contests, while the action is going on, they don't overwhelm the fans with obnoxious sound effects. The sound system was cranked too high during the first couple of years, but they have turned it down since.
Misses
  • The press box is located along the concourse behind home plate instead of being at the club level like it is a most parks. This makes for a dark spot along the concourse where fans are unable to see the game. Also, the press box is not located directly behind home plate, which is a bit odd.
  • There is no wraparound concourse and only a small grassy berm in the right field corner. Though with the train tracks running close behind the fence, making an outfield concourse may not be possible.
  • The scoreboard in right field is not used as well as it could be. While it is an HD board, the team has put a net in front of it, so the sharpness of it is lost. Also, the team displays ads on over half of the screen throughout the game.
  • The atmosphere can be a bit crazy here, mostly because of the amount of spoiled, bratty kids that are running around with no interest in the game. Though it seems in recent years the ushers have been able to control this a bit better.
Eats
  • The variety of concessions is quite good and includes : Italian sausages, chicken sandwiches, cheesesteaks (both beef and chicken), french fries, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, tater tots, and chicken nuggets.
  • For those looking to healthy, there are several options here including wraps, salads, and veggie burgers.
  • New in 2013 is a "Build Your Own Burger" stand where fans can select what toppings they want to add to their burger. Including fries, it costs $9.50.
  • Other snacks which are offered include churros, Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, smoothies, braided pretzels, and apple pies.
  • As can be expected from a park in the New York metro area, prices are on the high side. But the team does offer some combo meals for kids that are a decent deal.
TB Bank Park does not break any new ground in terms of ballpark design and really doesn't offer much unique, but that has not seemed to affect attendance one bit as the Patriots are near the top of the Atlantic League attendance every year - usually averaging over 5,000 per game. Certainly the affluent location is primarily responsible for this, but it is still great to see independent baseball thrive. If you are just looking for a clean, comfortable night at the park, you can certainly do worse than TD Bank Park.
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