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August 9, 2005

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Patriots Evacuate Ballpark: A suspicious bag caused the evacuation of fans, staff and players at Commerce Bank Ballpark, home of the Somerset Patriots, in Bridgewater, N.J. on Tuesday.

According to team sources, a bag was left unattended at the main gate; however, the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management and Bridgewater Police Department deemed the contents as “safe.”

Heading into the top of the ninth inning, the Patriots were leading the Newark Bears 10-2 when general manager Patrick McVerry walked onto the field and approached the day’s umpiring crew. Soon after, Patriots manager Sparky Lyle, as well as Bears skipper Chris Jones joined him as confusion spread throughout the park.

In the meantime, a majority of the players from both teams began walking towards center field; some even going to the stands and bring their families with them.

“We didn’t know more than anyone else did,” Patriots director of player procurement Adam Gladstone said. “No one questioned anything.”

Shortly after, an announcement was made throughout the stadium for all fans to exit the ballpark through either the left or right side gates, leading fans away from the main entrance. The game was eventually suspended and is scheduled to be made up on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

Underneath the facility, players dressed quickly as they tried to evacuate the park. Several commented that they heard a bomb had been called in to the park; however, that could not be confirmed.

“All we were told was that a suspicious package was found and they didn’t know who it belonged to,” Gladstone said. “We got to the locker room and shortly after we were told to leave the ballpark.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” one player said. “It’s scary, but you have to always be cautious.”

On the outside of the stadium, police were blocking off traffic on East Main Street. While it’s unknown what contents were in the package, team officials said that they had to follow policy regarding situations similar to this one.

“The Somerset Patriots commend the Bridgewater Police, the Patriots staff, and all the fans in attendance for making the evacuation a smooth process. The Patriots and the Bridgewater Police Department had one goal in mind, the safety of everyone in the ballpark. We will continue to provide a safe environment for fans to enjoy and thank everyone for their understanding,” McVerry said.

The Patriots unveiled the $17-million ballpark on June 7, 1999 and have set numerous attendance records over the years. Last year, the club welcomed its two millionth fan and set a team record by averaging 5,376 in attendance each night.

Sitting on 27 acres of land, the park is used in the off-season for other events, including concerts, a circus and more.

Ashmore’s Note: Geoff Mosher of The Courier News reports that the package was merely someone’s lunch. You can never be too safe, though…there is no such thing as an overreaction in a situation like that.

Patriots Make Trade: The Patriots reached out to the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League for their latest acquisition. The team received right-handed pitcher Adam Larson for a player to be named.

“He’s on his way from Minnesota right now,” Patriots director of player procurement Adam Gladstone said. “Their team had to make a move and we needed pitching so it worked out.

“Pitching is extreamly hard to find out there right now.”

Larson was a 15th round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2002. He is 8-9 with a 4.42 ERA in 100 career games, including a six-game stint in Triple-A. – Scott Stanchak.


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