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Recreation- BlueClaws

Affordable, family, fun was the mission statement of the BlueClaws before they ever played their first game, and it remains their mission statement today, after 15 years and over 6.4 million fans. The BlueClaws, a minor-league baseball affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, opened their doors in 2001 and have led the South Atlantic League in attendance each year of existence.

The backbone of the organization has always been, and will continue to be, affordable, family fun. The BlueClaws have several day-of-the-week promotions to further that goal. Each Sunday and Monday, kids eat free. Seniors eat free every Tuesday. Thursdays are Thirsty Thursday with dollar beer and soda, and there are post-game fireworks every Friday.

On the field through their first 15 seasons, the BlueClaws have seen 69 of their alumni go on to play in the big leagues, or, to put in the local vernacular, go “From the Shore to the Show.” Included on that list are Ryan Howard, a former MVP who played with the BlueClaws in 2002, and Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP who played with the BlueClaws in 2003. These two players are the only two former BlueClaws to have their numbers retired by the team - Howard’s 29 was retired in 2010 and Hamels’ 19 was retired in 2014.

The BlueClaws, who have been a Phillies affiliate since their 2001 inception, have won three South Atlantic League titles - 2006, 2009, and 2010.

That combination of on-field success with affordable, family entertainment has been a catalyst for the BlueClaws in their first 15 years at the Jersey Shore. But in addition to that, the 6.4 million fans to come through the gates have benefitted from a top ballpark with significant perks for all fans.

FirstEnergy Park has 6,588 fixed seats throughout the stadium, and not a bad seat can be found throughout the park. The lower seating bowl includes 15 sections, with all 15 starting no farther back than the back of the infield dirt. Down the left field line is Dr. Bernard’s Kids Zone with a series of rides and games for kids. The Coors Light WRAT Trap is located in right-center field and houses Thirsty Thursdays each week. In right field, fans congregate at the Food Court and can taste a wide variety of brews at the team’s Craft Brew House.

Businesses, groups, and families hold outings at the stadium in one of the three picnic areas, located around the concourse, or on the suite level. The BlueClaws luxury suite level houses two party decks, open-air, undercover buffet areas, Champions Club, a triple-box party suite and 16 luxury suites, which hold up to 20 people and feature indoor/outdoor seating, climate control, cable television and the best view at the Jersey Shore.

The biggest addition, literally, came in 2015, when the team installed a brand-new 1,850 square-foot video board that includes 1.13 million LEDs and a 15HD pixel layout that provides high density, clear and crisp imagery. This is the same technology used in 10 major-league stadiums.

The team is also very active in the community. BlueClaws staff members work with 15 area chambers of commerce, and staff members are involved with boards or event committees of 30 area nonprofit organizations.

Many of these nonprofit organizations work with the BlueClaws throughout the year as part of their Community Partners program. These groups raise money through BlueClaws fundraiser outings and receive exposure throughout the season and are eligible for end-of-year grants as well. Community Partners range in size from smaller organizations to local chapters of larger organizations.

Money is raised by BlueClaws Charities throughout the year through a variety of measures, including special fundraising events. Each year, the organization hosts an April “Bowling with the BlueClaws” fundraising event. In May, the team holds their ALS Celebrity Waiter Event to raise money for the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia, the principal charity of the Phillies. Each August, the BlueClaws Charities “Nine and Dine” Golf Outing raises additional funds for the organization.

Jersey auctions have consistently proven to be a popular fundraising opportunity - several times each season, the BlueClaws will wear special jerseys which are later auctioned off for BlueClaws Charities. Past jersey auctions include Ugly Sweater Jerseys, Celebrate the Garden State, BluePaws (dog foot-prints) and Irish Heritage. The team is scheduled to wear Harry Potter, “Caturday,” luau, and Augtoberfest (as in Octoberfest in August) jerseys this year. Plus, each year since 2008, the BlueClaws become the “BruceClaws” for one night only - Bruce Springsteen Appreciation Night. The team plays Springsteen music throughout the night and wears special BruceClaws jerseys for one of the most popular nights of the season.

Over the last 15 years, the BlueClaws have been very proud to be a part of the Jersey Shore community, and look forward to the next 15 years.

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