Saturday I ventured up I-95 to Trenton, NJ to visit the Thunder for the first time. I gave myself plenty of time to get there, as Google Maps said it was about a 3:15 drive when I left. Unfortunately, the I-95 corridor in the northeast is as unpredictable as the weather, and I lost an hour and 45 minutes due to traffic. What I found when I finally arrived was a beautiful little ballpark nestled on the banks of the Delaware River.
ARM & HAMMER Park is a wonderful place to watch a game. Fantastic fans, jaw dropping food options, great front office staff, and awesome sightlines from every seat. Great action during the game, and a walk off win for the home team. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Trenton Thunder and ARM & HAMMER Park
The Thunder can trace their roots back to 1980 and the Glens Fall (NY) White Sox. Starting in 1985, the team was a Tigers farm team, and in 1990, they relocated to London, Ontario and became the London Tigers. In 1994, the franchise moved to Trenton and became the Thunder. From 1995 through 2002, the Thunder were in the Red Sox organization, before switching allegiances to the Yankees in 2003.
ARM & HAMMER Park first opened in 1994 as Mercer County Waterfront Park. In 1999, team owner Joe Plumeri added the name “Samuel J. Plumeri, Sr. Field” in honor of his father. There’s a really nice statue and plaque honoring Plumeri, Sr. in front of the stadium. In 2012, ARM & HAMMER purchased the naming rights to the stadium.
Since I was running late, I didn’t get a chance to walk completely around the stadium like I wanted to. There’s a nice pathway all around the outfield all, part of which follows along the Delaware River. I did notice prior to the game many fans were taking advantage of the tables outside to enjoy snacks and the river prior to entering the stadium. But upon entering the stadium, Boomer was there to greet me at the top of the stairs. I felt right at home!
There didn’t seem to be a bad view of the stadium from any angle. Even with the wide open concourses, there was always an open view of the field!
If you are looking for souvenirs, they have an awesome club store, in addition to a stand alone kiosk in the form of a trolley or subway car. The team store was second to none in all the parks I have visited!
While I didn’t buy anything, I did donate $3 to spin the wheel for a prize. I lost three bucks but I did find a new Mets Pez dispenser. Mets? Granted, I am a Mets fan but isn’t this a Yankees park??
Staring lineups were written by hand before the game. And action from all the Yankees teams were also posted for all to see!
And keeping with their strong history, the Thunder maintain a board showing all the players who have made it to the show!
The food….OMG the food!
On game days, I usually skimp on breakfast and skip lunch, and for Saturday, I made the right choice! So many choices, so little time…. (and calories!)….. I admit I had done my homework, and sort of knew what I was going to order for dinner, but it was still a tough choice! BBQ, burgers, nachos in a helmet, fried Oreos or fried ice cream…. They even had a Chickies and Petes stand with crab fries! I had the Chickies and Pete’s fries last year while visiting the Blue Rocks, and you can review that post here.
Based on my extensive pre-game research, though, I decided to stop at the Pork Roll Paradise! Edibles included the hog steak, the oink, click & moo, the swine sandwich, the pig pen, and the Thunder dog.
I am so glad I saved my calories for this!! The Thunder Dog. A 1/5 lb hot dog, 1/4 pound of pork roll and two slices of American cheese on a torpedo roll. Heaven!!
Sadly I didn’t save room for the fried Oreo’s, nor the crab fries. But I’ve had the fries, and while they are OUTSTANDING, sometimes your stomach can only handle so much fine cuisine!
The Fans and staff
Thunder fans were great! I sat in the front row behind the the Mets’ dugout, next two five year old Christian and nine month old Kyle. Both were having a great time, and Christian even got a ball from the Mets players during the game when they came off the field. These were our seats:
I will get to the game and the fireworks (both on and off the field) in a moment, but during the ninth inning, with the Thunder rallying, Meghan from behind me chimed right in with probably the best quote from “Bull Durham”:
Although things got a little ugly late in the game with the Thunder squandering a two run lead in the top of the eighth and losing the lead, most of the standing room only 7,327 fans stuck around and didn’t give up on the Thunder!
I want to give a shout out to Thunder announcers Adam Giardino and Jon Mozes. I traded a few emails during the week, and they invited me to stop up and say hello between innings. Thanks guys!
And here’s Binghamton announcer Tim Heiman
Speaking of fans, at one point in their history, as of 2006, the Thunder were the first team in MiLB history to draw over 400,000 fans for 12 consecutive seasons at the AA level or below. Tonight they honored their nine millionth fan, Lisa Ford.
Speaking of lost and found, the fans lost quite a bit of weight from their wallets in hope of finding a cure for pediatric cancer. In support of the VS Cancer Foundation, the team had already raised $10,000 going into the game. Other fundraisers pushed that total even higher. After the game, Thunder staff and players had their heads shaved to support this great cause! Way to go, Thunder staff, players, and fans!
Thunder Community Relations Manager Vince Marcucci sports a new do after the game!
Starting Thunder pitcher Dietrich Enns (right) getting a post game trim, along with Matt Hillman (Group Sales Representative) in the middle and pitcher Daniel Camarena on the left.
At the end of the night, I felt I came out ahead on the lost and found count. Lost included a little bit of drive time, one camera lens cap, and a pen. Found, though, included a great park, some fantastic fans, and hopefully helping pediatric cancer, all due to the Trenton Thunder!
One cool thing before we get to the various game photos is the Thunder’s bat dog. For eleven years, the Thunder’s Chase That Golden Thunder acted as bat dog. Chase retired in 2013, and sadly passed away just days after his retirement party. Here’s a tribute video to Chase:
Chase’s legacy lives on with his son, “Home Run” Derby, and Derby’s son, Rookie. In the second inning, Derby made his appearance and gathered up the bat nicely. Well done, Derby!
No, thank YOU Trenton Thunder for a fantastic night at the ball park!