The Somerset Patriots, the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate, will be joining Minor League Baseball’s “The Nine” program beginning in the 2023 season according to a press release issued by the team.

The Nine is a league wide initiative created by Minor League Baseball as a “Black-community focused outreach platform specifically designed to  honor, and celebrate, the historic impact numerous Black baseball pioneers made on the sport.

Named for the number Jackie Robinson wore during his only season playing in MiLB with the Triple-A Montreal Royals (Brooklyn Dodgers) in 1946, “The Nine” connects MiLB teams’ existing, Black-community focused development efforts with new national programming and future special events in a coordinated and centralized campaign.

The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for youth baseball and softball participation.

“We are excited to join MiLB’s ‘The Nine’ program this season,” said Patriots Co-Chairman Jonathan Kalafer. “This is an opportunity for us to help fans understand the passion, the struggles and the extraordinary impact that Black players have had on the game we love. In doing so, we want to fulfill one of our missions of always being a positive force at the ballpark to serve our entire community the best we can.”

Through “The Nine” program, the team will be creating an event that will educate fans, while listening to and connecting more closely with the Black community. The Patriots are also looking to develop new partnerships with Black organizations and businesses.

“The Sunday, August 27 home game versus the Hartford Yard Goats at 1:05 pm will feature a tribute to the New York Black Yankees. More information about the game and the Patriots participation in “The Nine” are coming soon.”