|Chronological Tour: Stop 195|
Entrance to GPU Energy Park, Apr-2001.
The view from center field during the game.
Outfield signs are somewhat unobtrusive here.
So why a larger capacity park for a lower level of ball? Despite the fact that this is low Class A ball vs. the Double-A Southern League, the designers expected large crowds due to the location of the park, on the northern edge of Ocean County. Thanks to the Garden State Parkway, the bedroom for New York now stretches this far down the Shore. There is also some baseball tradition in the area, and fans have been flocking to the park since the opener. An August 2002 game I attended drew a South Atlantic League record 13,003 fans. (In recent years, the club has moved to limit the number of general admission tickets they sell, in response to fans who said they felt claustrophobic at jam-packed weekend games.)
There are two entrances to the parking lots, one from each county road. That said, the park suffers from poor access and egress. It took me 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot after stopping at the souvenir stand following one game.
The parking fee was raised for the 2015 season, from $3 per vehicle to $5. Perhaps it’s what the market can bear, but it still seems unusually high for low A ball.
The starting lineups are posted on a whiteboard behind the customer service desk. That desk also has a limited number of copies of the day’s starting lineup printed out for those fans who keep score, so they don’t have to stand in front of the desk and transcribe the lineups. The BlueClaws hand out a free playbill-sized game-day program, updated generally twice each month, but that also means that rosters may be outdated by as much as three weeks.
The scoreboard and video board are generally run competently, but the public address announcer has been known to gloss over pitching changes. A new matrix board, including a scoreboard display that is left in place at all times, was installed for the 2015 season.
As with many other clubs, the BlueClaws run the Thirsty Thursday promotion, with discounted beer and soda pop. However, the cheap beverages are only available at the outfield tiki bar, leading to the phenomenon that the main concourse and seating bowl are half-empty on Thursday evenings while most of the alleged spectators are in the outfield, often standing in the beer queue.
The BlueClaws are named for the blue crab found in Atlantic waters. (So is an independent league team in Maryland.) While the team retired its fondly remembered original logo, affectionately called “Pinchy”, after the 2009 season, the primary mascot remains a crab called Buster. (Buster. Crab. Ha ha.) Pinchy is scheduled to make Thursday “throwback” appearances in 2017, according to an October 2016 team press release.
|454||Fri 13-Apr-2001||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 1, Hickory 0, 11 inn|
|457||Mon 7-May-2001||South Atlantic||A||Delmarva 5, LAKEWOOD 2|
|519||Mon 24-Jun-2002||South Atlantic||A||Greensboro 5, LAKEWOOD 3|
|555||Mon 26-Aug-2002||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 3, Hickory 0|
|584||Tue 6-May-2003||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 3, Charleston WV 2|
|685||Tue 3-Aug-2004||South Atlantic||A||Augusta 4, LAKEWOOD 1|
|734||Thu 7-Apr-2005||South Atlantic||A||Lake County 10, LAKEWOOD 2|
|809||Wed 26-Apr-2006||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 7, Hagerstown 7, 17 inn, curfew
(BlueClaws won completion, 8-7, 22 inn)
|812||Mon 26-Jun-2006||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 4, Lake County 1|
|838||Tue 15-Aug-2006||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 7, Hagerstown 5|
|850||Wed 6-Sep-2006||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 2, Lexington 1|
|854||Thu 14-Sep-2006||South Atlantic||A||Augusta 11, LAKEWOOD 1|
|855||Fri 15-Sep-2006||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 5, Augusta 0
(BlueClaws win league championship)
|859||Thu 5-Apr-2007||South Atlantic||A||Greensboro 11, LAKEWOOD 7|
|895||Thu 30-Aug-2007||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 1, Lake County 0|
|919||Thu 3-Apr-2008||South Atlantic||A||Lake County 4, LAKEWOOD 0|
|951||Mon 18-Aug-2008||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 9, Charleston SC 1|
|986||Fri 10-Apr-2009||South Atlantic||A||Delmarva 3, LAKEWOOD 1|
|1004||Thu 6-Aug-2009||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 7, Lake County 5|
|1040||Tue 15-Sep-2009||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 3, Greenville 0|
|1052||Thu 22-Apr-2010||South Atlantic||A||Hagerstown 11, LAKEWOOD 7|
|1100||Sat 11-Sep-2010||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 6, Hickory 0|
|1103||Fri 17-Sep-2010||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 2, Greenville 1|
|1117||Wed 25-May-2011||South Atlantic||A||Greensboro 4, LAKEWOOD 1|
|1130||Sun 24-Jul-2011||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 5, Augusta 1|
|1192||Wed 11-Jul-2012||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 9, Hickory 3|
|1221||Tue 21-Aug-2012||South Atlantic||A||Delmarva 4, LAKEWOOD 2|
|1265||Thu 8-Aug-2013||South Atlantic||A||West Virginia 7, LAKEWOOD 0|
|1306||Wed 23-Apr-2014||South Atlantic||A||Charleston SC 9, LAKEWOOD 3|
|1331||Tue 5-Aug-2014||South Atlantic||A||Asheville 8, LAKEWOOD 1|
|1339||Thu 14-Aug-2014||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 8, Hagerstown 0, 6 inn, rain|
|1375||Wed 15-Apr-2015||South Atlantic||A||Greensboro 7, LAKEWOOD 2|
|1400||Mon 10-Aug-2015||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 5, Greensboro 4, 12 inn|
|1459||Mon 13-Jun-2016||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 5, Hagerstown 0|
|1487||Thu 18-Aug-2016||South Atlantic||A||Hickory 4, LAKEWOOD 2|
|1514||Wed 7-Sep-2016||South Atlantic||A||LAKEWOOD 6, Hagerstown 1|
|1522||Thu 15-Sep-2016||South Atlantic||A||Rome 2, LAKEWOOD 0|