New Jersey baseball coaches react to Somerset Patriots becoming Double-A affiliate of New York Yankees

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We solicited feedback from several Central Jersey college and high school baseball coaches regarding the Somerset Patriots becoming the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Here’s what they had to say.

Rutgers University Head Coach Steve Owens

“I just feel like this is a grand slam for baseball in the region. As a New York Yankees fan, I’m thrilled to have the chance to follow their drafted players as they closer to Major League level. And being only 10 minutes away is really exciting. The Patriots have provided a great place for families to enjoy baseball and grow baseball in the area. Professional baseball makes part of our culture. I just feel like with the New York Yankees here (as a Double-A Affiliate) it’s like a dream come true. With 5,000 people coming to a game (from Somerset) almost every game over the years they’ve been great, I can see (the interest) is really growing.

CONTINUED: New York Yankees legends officially welcome Somerset Patriots to Double-A baseball

Bridgewater-Raritan High School head coach Max Newill, who played independent league ball for the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs and for the Northeast Aces in the Northeast League

“I’m excited and, as a veteran of the independent league, also a bit sad. This type of baseball will always have a place in my heart, but I understand that the Yankees mean bigger and better things. It’s sad for me, in a way, to see the independent (players) leaving, but at the same time, I think it’s a great opportunity for the organization, the city and for my players too, because the most of them are Yankees fans. . Seeing the pipeline (of prospects) move up the ladder will be great and will generate much more interest from young people.

Kean University head coach Neil Ioviero reflects on Yankees moving from their Double-A branch from Trenton to Bridgewater

“The way I would describe it is bittersweet. From a selfish point of view, it brings the Yankees a little closer to my home. But I also feel for the people (in Trenton) losing a team. I think it’s a little version of what people would have been through when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles or the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco. It really makes you feel a little bit like that fanbase felt.

Joe Augustine, a former Kansas City Royals farmhand who is now director of player development at the Baseball Warehouse, a training academy in Highland Park

“I was signed to play with Somerset in 2012 but suffered career-ending shoulder, back and neck injuries. My first thought was for Patriots manager Brett Jodie , and Jon Hunton (Somerset Baseball Operations Manager), and all those guys who have helped run a very successful organization over the last 20 years I’ve seen a lot of minor league organizations all over the country and these guys from Somerset have done it right and run an outstanding organization when it comes to attracting fans, putting together a quality product and getting guys back to the affiliate ball.

CONTINUED: Late gardener played part in Somerset becoming Yankees affiliate

St. Joseph of Metuchen High School coach Mike Murray Jr., former San Francisco Giants farmhand and founder of New Jersey’s 2020 Last Dance World Series, a summer tournament involving more than 220 teams of players from secondary age

“With The Last Dance, I got to work with a lot of minor league parks. If you were at the games in Somerset, it’s a great place to watch a game. Baseball’s brightest prospects kind of cut their teeth at the Double A level before moving on to the big leagues. Fans will be able to see a lot of great baseball in a great venue.”

Middlesex County College Head Coach CJ Mooney

“I think it’s great. It’s really cool, especially with Somerset being so close to our area. It gives the guys – especially the GMC (Greater Middlesex Conference) guys – a chance to go straight into their backyards and seeing some of these possible future Yankees and (current Yankees) who are doing rehab stints there. I think it’s going to be a really cool experience for some of these high school kids to get a chance to see them play “I know I’m excited. I’m a huge Yankees fan. Anything to do with the Yankees is something I’m really passionate about, so it brings out the kid in me to have Somerset Patriots Stadium just here near my home.

Greater Middlesex Conference Baseball Coaches Association chairman and Edison High School head coach Vinnie Abene on GMC’s relationship with the Somerset Patriots

“When it comes to Edison and the whole of the Greater Middlesex Conference, they’ve been more than accommodating (hosting GMC games). Every request we’ve had, they’ve honoured. Of the majority of coaches, there’s Lots of Yankees fans in the area so it’s exciting to see (future) Major League players in this stadium.

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