For the first time since 1995,
’s historic Muzzy Field will house a college league baseball team this summer. Bristol
The city’s Park Board unanimously agreed Thursday to open the gates for the Bristol Nine, the newest of the dozen teams in the 15-year-old New England Collegiate Baseball League.
“We’re all excited,” said Dan Kennedy, the team’s general manager.
Kennedy said the team is anxious to play in a field where “the atmosphere and the history” are second to none. “This is a great venue,” he added.
Between June 1 and August 11, the team will play 21 home games at Muzzy, officials said. Tickets are slated to cost $4 for adults and $1 for children ages 12 and under.
The deal won’t cost taxpayers anything, park officials said, but the city should benefit from some of the gear the team has to purchase, including a portable backstop for batting practice and protective screens for players to use during practice.
The team played last year in
Pittsfield, Mass. but is moving to under new owners. There are a dozen teams in the league, with at least one in every Bristol New England state.
Mayor Art Ward said he has been impressed with the team owners’ enthusiasm for getting involved in the community.
Kennedy and Paul Fredette, two of the four owners, said the players -- among the top college athletes in the country -- will donate time to work with younger ballplayers in the city.
“For it to be adopted by the community, there’s a lot of giving we have to do,” Fredette said.
The team’s mascot, not yet chosen, will also be a part of as many community events as possible, they said.
Bristol resident who serves as the pitching coach for ’s baseball team, Pat Hall, will be the head coach, team owners said. Central Connecticut State University
Though the team is still working out details, it plans to have Chicago White Sox-style uniforms with a little red mixed in. Its logo will feature an old-time ballplayer in the Mudville 9 fashion.
The Bristol Nine isn’t the first team the league has had in
During the league’s first two seasons, in 1994 and 1995, the Bristol Nighthawks played at Muzzy.
But Kennedy and Fredette said the league is quite different now than it was in its earliest days, with better players who are much more disciplined, mainly because there are typically 10 to 15 professional scouts watching every game.
They said that hundreds of the league’s players have gone on to play professionally. The league lists 25 of its alumni currently played Major League Baseball.
Kennedy said the team has invited 28 college players to join its roster, about half of them from
Connecticut, including two players who hail from Bristol and another from . He said he’s hoping to snag at 94-miles-per-hour pitcher from Plainville , too. Berlin
But, he said, “we can’t stay totally local,” which explains his attempt to secure a couple of
players as well. Texas
The league, modeled on the Cape Cod Baseball League, is among the top college leagues in the country. Its
team attracts 1,700 fans nightly, Kennedy said. Newport, R.I.
City and team officials said they have worked hand-in-hand with the American Legion team to make sure there are no scheduling problems. Kennedy said the team plans to give the Legion team many free tickets for its use and resale to raise money for its needs.
The Bristol Nine doesn’t offer salaries to its players, but has to pay for the use of the field and other costs. Kennedy said its revenue will come from ticket sales, merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships.
Team officials said they plan to introduce the Bristol Nine more formally next Thursday at a 9:30 a.m. kickoff press conference at Nuchies Restaurant.
Collegiate Baseball League teams England
Muzzy Field’s past
Muzzy Field was the home ballpark the Bristol Red Sox from 1972 to 1982, the AA-affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
It featured games by barnstorming professionals in the 1940s and 1950s, games that brought such legends as Babe Ruth and Vince Lombardi to town.
Its field has been in use since 1912. The grandstands were erected in 1939.
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