Finding a way to mix Bruce Springsteen with baseball has been a goal of mine for the nearly two years I’ve been at Baseball America. But beyond the occasional lyrical headline ("Eric Young, Born to Run), I’ve come up empty . . . until now.
Thank you, Lakewood.
Tonight the low Class A Lakewood BlueClaws are changing their name to the BruceClaws in honor of Springsteen returning home for a three-show gig at Giants Stadium beginning Sunday (anyone got an extra ticket?).
The team will wear special jerseys with BruceClaws written across the chest in the same font as Springsteen’s Greetings From Asbury Park album cover, with a guitar superimposed over the outline of New Jersey just below. Lakewood will hold a silent auction after the game for the jerseys, with proceeds benefiting the Food Bank of Monmouth County.
Only Springsteen music will be played over stadium speakers and the tiki bar beyond the outfield wall will have Springsteen concert footage played on its televisions throughout the game. In addition, the ALS foundation will hold a raffle for a Springsteen signed baseball.
BruceClaws spokesman Brendan Burke said they are expecting quite a response.
"The Jersey Shore is where Bruce is from and the area certainly embraces him," Burke said. "I would be shocked if tonight isn’t the biggest crowd of the year. Our last July Friday night game drew 9,118 and I think we’ll top that."
Now for the most important question: Will Bruce be there? (Springsteen has been known to show up unannounced at concerts of bandmates or friends.) Burke said that Springsteen is not scheduled to be there and he hasn’t heard of any plans for a Bruce drop in, but . . .
"We do know that he knows about it," Burke said. "He is invited in the grand scheme of things . . . So I guess there’s a chance."
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