Comets Womens Baseball Coming to TD Bank
This is a new team through National Pro Fastpitch.
Bridgewater may already have a baseball team in the Somerset Patriots—but now, in the same stadium, it will also be getting a women’s softball team.
Part of National Pro Fastpitch, the Comets are making their debut for this season under the leadership of president Michael Neuwirth.
“It is a women’s professional team here in the northeast,” he said. “The territory is central and northern New Jersey and New York bordering on New Jersey.”
The National Pro Fastpitch is preparing for its 10th regular season, with the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits and Florida Pride.
The Comets, Neuwirth said, is signing women from other leagues, as well as those who are just graduating from college.
“Some we have signed have been playing for the league for one to three years,” he said. “Other players are not currently signed and are free agents.”
“In addition, with the college seniors, once they are graduates, we will have a draft in mid to late May and we obviously pick the best players,” he added.
The team will be headquartered in Bridgewater, and play in three different venues.
“I am from the area, and we chose three that we felt would have undying support,” Neuwirth said. “They understood the mission of the Comets and support us. They want to provide staffing for us and host us.”
The first of those is TD Bank Ballpark, although Neuwirth said he hopes to play more games there in 2014 than they will this year in the season that lasts from early June through late August.
“I have attended many Patriots games, and it came down to that this stadium made the most sense for us,” he said. “There are many softball teams around here and a couple thousand girls actually play rec softball so there is a huge fan base here.”
“They said absolutely, they want to support us, and we want us to come back to TD Bank Ballpark in 2014 and do as many games as possible,” he added.
Neuwirth said they are anticipating a lot of people will attend when the games are at TD Bank Ballpark.
“This isn’t the kind of game where we play at a college field,” he said. “We are expecting thousands of people to come so we need large stadiums, and being that this is the first year, we need support with concessions, security and more.”
“We’re using the stadium as home base,” he added.
The second stadium, Neuwirth said, is the Yogi Berra Stadium, home of the Jackals, in Little Falls, New Jersey.
The third stadium is Provident Bank Park in Rockland County, New York.
“They opened a little over a year ago,” he said. “They greeted us with open arms.”
Neuwirth said he contacted National Pro Fastpitch about 14 months ago about owning a team. After 14 months of talking to fans and travel team coaches, he said he realized there is definitely a need for this program.
With his own daughters participating in softball programs, Neuwirth said he understands how important the program is for them.
“The one thing I am really excited about is to see the looks on the faces of the young girls when they are seeing their idols and getting pictures with them,” he said. “And the athletes are unbelievable, and so great with the kids. It is amazing what great role models they are on and off the field.”
Neuwirth said he coached youth softball for seven years, and was on the board of his local league.
“It was a fantastic experience,” he said.
But Neuwirth said it was meeting members of Team USA Softball with his daughters about five years ago that really cemented his love of the program. He said the players took time to meet all the fans, and refused to leave until they had met everyone who was there.
“Five years later, and they still talk about it and have the pictures on their walls, and that’s why I got involved,” he said. “I look forward to after the games when we will have the girls out with the athletes taking pictures.”
The team has currently signed eight players, and will be adding more in the coming weeks.
The Comets will play 16 home games this season, and tickets are available now through the Comets Pro Softball website.