Due to the Covid-19 pandemic there was no Minor League Baseball being played in 2020 but it has been a very exciting and busy year for the BlueClaws off the field first changing their brand name from Lakewood to Jersey Shore and now being promoted from the Low-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies to the High-A affiliate.

The BlueClaws issued a joint statement with the Phillies on Wednesday announcing the decision stemming from Major League Baseball's new player development structure.

This doesn't change the fan experience at First Energy Park but offers a higher tier of player talent on the field being the next level up and now just a step below the AA level within the organization.

The BlueClaws have been the Phillies Low-A affiliate since becoming a team in 2001 in the South Atlantic League.

Clearwater where the Threshers play will now be the Phillies Low-A affiliate while the Reading Fightin Phils remain the AA team and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs remain the AAA affiliate.

“The Jersey Shore BlueClaws are honored and excited to move up to High-A and continue our outstanding partnership with the Phillies,” Jersey Shore BlueClaws Team President Joe Ricciutti said in a statement. “Our goals continue to be to provide affordable, family entertainment to the Jersey Shore and provide a top-class environment to develop young players on the field and in the community.”

"We are happy to extend an invitation to these four affiliates who have been a great partner to this organization for many years," Philadelphia Phillies Assistant General Manager Bryan Minniti said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with all four affiliates and their respective communities where we have such long-standing ties."

The 2021 Jersey Shore BlueClaws schedule will be released when available.

There have been 106 former BlueClaws as of this summer who have gone “From the Shore, to the Show,” with 11 making big league debuts in 2020, according to the BlueClaws, with some of the former stars at the Shore making big names in the big leagues including Ryan Howard (2002), Cole Hamels (2003), Carlos Ruiz (2001), Rhys Hoskins (2015), Scott Kingery (2015) and Alec Bohm (2019).

You'll be able to head to First Energy Park and see the Jersey Shore BlueClaws play for a while with future MLB talent as the team inked a lease extension with the township of Lakewood earlier this fall to continue playing there through the 2031 season.

"We go through 2031 and then at that point, I'm sure we fully anticipate we'll sign another 10-year extension and take it right until the end," Ricciutti said on October 22.

The Jersey Shore BlueClaws and all the other teams are now planning for the possibility of baseball in 2021 and fans at whatever capacity is allowed with safety being a priority.

"We'll make sure that fans feel comfortable coming back and joining us," Ricciutti said. "It's a great experience for anybody whose been to a BlueClaws game with everything from the in-between innings entertainment, the boardwalk games, the mini-golf, the fireworks...all of that stuff is just tremendous for the fan experience and we'll make sure that we're ready to welcome fans back in 2021."

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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