2020 is the 20th anniversary of the Lakewood BlueClaws but due to the pandemic the Phillies Class A minor league baseball team never took the field.  Their 140-game season was cancelled and it turns out it was their last. Well sort of.

Wednesday night at Convention Hall in Asbury Park it was officially announced that the team had changed its name to the Jersey Shore BlueClaws.  The club had been promoting for some time that a major announcement was coming and many speculated it had something to do with a franchise move but nothing could be further from the truth.

Managing partner Art Matin ended that rumor early in the evening with the announcement that the BlueClaws had extended their lease with the Township of Lakewood through the 2031 season so that means at least ten more years at FirstEnergy Park.

Shortly after that President/General Manager Joe Ricciutti made it official by talking about the baseball team’s relationship with everything that makes up the Jersey Shore.  As part of the name change the team unveiled new logos, on-field caps and even a home white uniform with others to follow.  The logo features a crab surfing and boogie boarding which works right into the shore lifestyle.

In full disclosure I have known about the name change since January when I was part of a focus group that met with a California company that helps brand and re-brand sports teams.  The plan all along was for this to happen after the 2020 season so the pandemic had nothing to do with the timing of the name change. It was coming no matter what.

What was not talked about last night but seems obvious is the negative feelings many have over recent developments in Lakewood which have cast a negative light on the fast-growing township. However the upside seems obvious.

Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone spoke about his county now having a minor league team and highlighted the fact that the announcement was taking place in historic Asbury Park.

In other words the BlueClaws are no longer just Lakewood’s team but everywhere along the Jersey Shore.