While everyone is talking about Major League Baseball, let’s not forget that there is also Minor League ball being played as well! MiLB will never get the same amount of attention as MLB, but it is still worth watching. Minor League games are usually fun outings if you have a team in your local area.
Luckily for me, the Lakewood BlueClaws fit that bill. Having spent my entire life growing up in New Jersey, I have become extremely familiar with this club. They are the Low-A ball affiliate for the Philadephia Phillies, playing in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League.
Some of the Phillies best players have come through Lakewood. Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard are the two that immediately come to mind. Both players have their numbers (19 and 29 respectively) retired with the team. JP Crawford, a rising young shortstop who is currently playing with AAA Lehigh, spent some time here in 2013 and 2014. He could very well debut with the Phils this season.
But we are here to talk about this season! The Claws opened their season last Thursday, April 6th on the road in Kannapolis. Lakewood would sweep the four-game series against the Intimidators, before moving to Hagerstown. That’s where they suffered their first loss of the season this past Monday. Their record currently sits at 4-2 with the third game of the Hagerstown series tonight at 6:05 pm EST.
But tomorrow is when the fun truly begins! Lakewood returns home where they will play their first game at FirstEnergy Park against the Greensboro Grasshoppers. First pitch will be at 6:35 pm EST.
If the appeal of Opening Day isn’t enough to get you excited, let me also mention that it will be a Thirsty Thursday! This means there will be one dollar beer and soda, in addition to 50 cent wings from Quaker Steak & Lube! And because it is a Thursday, that also means it is a Throwback Thursday!
— Lakewood BlueClaws (@BlueClaws) April 11, 2017
Every Thursday home game this season, the Claws will be wearing their original uniforms. This means pinstripes and Pinchy! These uniforms were worn between the 2001 and 2009 seasons. If you head out to the ballpark on a Thursday this season, you will be treated to these classics.
There are also some new additions when it comes to the concessions this season. First, we have the Dugout Bar, which is located on the third base concourse. Out in right field, there is the Grand Slam Grill. Out on the concourse, there will also be three new food trucks. The will belong to Empanada Guy, Fork In The Road and Jake’s Crab Shack. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s new in Lakewood this season. You can check out everything new here.
Also, you are going to need some names to watch! The player that everyone will be talking about this season is center fielder, Mickey Moniak. He was the first overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft out of La Costa Canyon High School. The 18-year-old who dons the number 22 is off to a fast start this season, as are a number of the Claws offensive players.
Second baseman Daniel Brito is another one of the team’s hitters who is off to a scorching hot start. The lead-off man holds a six-game hitting streak to open the season. Left fielder Cord Sandberg, as well as first baseman Alex Wojciechowski are also both swinging the stick well over the course of the opening week.
Number 23 Sixto Sanchez is the BlueClaws scheduled starter for Thursday night’s tilt with the Grasshoppers. Greensboro is not a team Lakewood can take lightly either, as they are both fighting for that top spot in the division after a week of games.
So be sure to head to FirstEnergy Park tomorrow night to catch the BlueClaws and their 2017 home opener! For more information on the team you can always check their team page here.
Also be sure to stay tuned here at INSC Magazine, as we will be covering the club all season long! We will even be in attendance for a number of games this season to go along with the Frisco RoughRiders!