Hoping to snag the 2010 American Legion Baseball World Series for Muzzy Field, a championship that would pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the area economy, a delegation of officials heads Saturday to Indianapolis to make a pitch for the event.
Mayor Art Ward said he is “very optimistic” about the city’s chances of winning the right to hold the yearly event.
Ward is one of five people from the city and the American Legion post in Bristol who is making the trip to try to convince decision-makers to pick Bristol.
He said they’re slated to make a presentation on Sunday afternoon and may know the success of the bid by early next week.
Snagging the Legion’s World Series would likely be “the largest sporting event ever to take place in the city,” Paul LaFleur, general manager the American Legion Post 2 baseball team, has said.
There are about nine municipalities competing for the right to host the event.
Ward said this might be the last opportunity for Bristol to win the right because of a new national rule that puts the World Series in whatever city holds the national American Legion convention.
Since Bristol isn’t likely to host a major national convention – given its lack of hotels, restaurants and meeting space – the 2010 competition is probably the city’s final opportunity to play host to the event.
Muzzy Field was built in 1912, making it one of the nation’s oldest ballparks. American Legion teams from Bristol have apparently played there for the past 80 years.
Bristol is well known in American Legion circles because of its active veterans community and the success of its baseball program over the years.
But the trump card for Bristol’s pitch for the World Series may be ESPN’s willingness to lend its name to the effort.Ward said ESPN’s support is crucial because of its clout in the sports world.
If the city gets the right to hold the Series, the Legion post will need to pony up $60,000 to help pay for it. The mayor said there are pledges in hand for about half the money already.
Ward, Park Director Ed Swicklas and several Legion officials are flying to Indianapolis on Saturday. They intend to rehearse their presentation there today in order to be ready for the real thing on Sunday.
They fly back home on Sunday night.
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