Reporter Jackie Majerus wrote this story:
The city will do whatever it can to adjust and work with filmmakers if they decide to use historic Muzzy Field as a location for part of a new movie about Jackie Robinson, officials said.
"Absolutely," said Mayor Art Ward. "However we can be accommodating, we'll be more than willing."
Ward said if part of the film is set at Muzzy Field, it will be good for Bristol.
It's in the city's best interest, Ward said, to try to promote the state's filmmaking industry.
"Bristol would seem to be an ideal location," said Ward, for any number of future films.
"It behooves us to listen, look and hear any ideas and proposals," said the mayor.
Superintendent Ed Swicklas of the Bristol Parks Department also said he'd do whatever he could to work with moviemakers. He said if Muzzy Field is used in the film, it could be an economic boost for the area.
"I think it's a great idea," said Swicklas. "We've got a lot of history there."
Even beyond baseball, Muzzy Field has seen its share of glory, according to Swicklas, who said the Green Bay Packers played there in the 1940s, the Pittsburgh Pirates took a turn. Former First Lady Barbara Bush also paid a visit to the field.
"To add a movie with Jackie Robinson," said Swicklas, "that'd be great."
According to Ward, Bristol's beloved ball field is perfect for the movie.
"I think Muzzy Field is ideal," said Ward. "It's a setting in history."A film about Robinson's life would delve into history, according to Ward, and Muzzy is perfect for that.
"It's a facility that could represent that time period," said Ward.
While some stadiums may have schedules they won't interrupt for Hollywood, Swicklas said Bristol will make changes necessary to make the filming possible.
"We're more community based," said Swicklas. "We'd shift 'em around."
The fact that Bristol-based ESPN is also part of producing the Robinson movie project, said Swicklas, makes the whole thing "even better."
Muzzy Field's been around the block
Nearing its century mark, Muzzy Field was built about 1912, according to Swicklas. That's the same year the Titanic set sail.
Jackie Robinson was born seven years later in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of sharecroppers.
The film, which is not yet in production, will be set in 1947, the year Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey hired Robinson, who had played in the Negro Baseball League.
Robinson, then 28, broke baseball's color bar when he joined the Dodgers. He was named Rookie of the Year and later, Most Valuable Player. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, and died in Stamford 10 years later.
According to Karen Baldwin of Baldwin Entertainment Corp., one of the partners in the filmmaking, the movie will tell the story of the relationship between Robinson and Rickey and the events leading up to his first time at bat for the Dodgers.
Robert Redford, who is another one of the filmmaking partners, would play Rickey. The actor who would play Robinson hasn't been announced.
Baldwin has said Muzzy Field is on the short list of possible stadiums for use in the film, which has generated hope and excitement locally.
"I think we have the perfect stadium for that," said Swicklas.
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