Coming off another highly successful year at Muzzy Field, the Bristol Blues have signed a deal with the city to continue using the historic ballpark for the next five years.
“Obviously, we’re excited to be in Bristol, and [continue] for the next five years,” said Elliot Scheiner, one of the team’s owners. “The team really loves being there. We love the park … and everything about being there in the summertime.”
Fellow Blues co-owner Bob Dabkowski, a local businessman, said the deal is about more than just baseball, as it gives the ownership team the opportunity to work on deals to bring other events - such as concerts and the “Wrestling Under the Stars” showcase held at the park this past summer - to the facility.
He said the longer-term deal is important, because some events take two or more years to plan.
“You can’t just pick up the phone and get them,” he said, when it comes to performers.
Last September, the Bristol Blues hosted country-western star Craig Morgan at Muzzy Field, and Dabkowski hopes to bring music as well as wrestling back to the park next year.
“This gives us time now … to put together more events for Muzzy Field,” he said. “Obviously the baseball is our first passion, but we want to bring more to Muzzy Field.”
Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne said in late May this year, just before the Blues began their third season in the city, that he was hoping to extend the team’s contract with the city for at least another five years.
“We have a great partnership with the Blues,” the mayor said at the time. “It’s been outstanding from the beginning.”
While the Blues did not advance to the finals of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League playoffs, as they did after their first season in 2015, they did recover from a very slow start to claim a divisional title this year. Muzzy Field was also host to the 2017 FCBL All-Star Game, with Bristol player Jayson Gonzalez winning the Home Run Derby at the event.
Other highlights from the season included the Blues setting a new league record for runs in a game with 24 in a road contest, Chris Davis leading the league in stolen bases (26), Anthony Morrone leading the league in wins (6) and local native Tommy Curtin leading the league in saves (12).
The five-year deal also gives the Blues some time to talk with new Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Brian Wilson about other potential improvements to the park, such as covering the two picnic areas at the facility to make them more a permanent feature.
“We’re looking forward to the next five years, and hopefully some time after that as well,” Dabkowski said.
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800, or firstname.lastname@example.org