Thoughts and pictures of my local minor league baseball team the New York Penn League Connecticut Tigers; a Detriot farm team. We'll still be looking at former Navigators/Defenders players along the way....

Monday, March 14, 2011


and from yesterday's Bulletin:

"All winter, Kevin Kelleher has been talking about money.

It’s almost time to start thinking about what really interests him — baseball.

The general manager of the new Mystic Schooners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League said this week that everything happened a little later than he would like (coming from private industry he found that the wheels turn slower when government is involved), but he has high expectations that everything will be ready for the team’s first home game on June 12.

“I’m excited, I can’t wait to talk about baseball,” Kelleher said.

Kelleher packed up the team last summer in Bristol and decided to move it east for a couple of reasons. The first was one of his partners in the team comes from Mystic and was willing to ante up the money for the move.

The second was the Muzzy Field situation in Bristol. The city would not give the NECBL a long-term lease and wouldn’t allow signs in the outfield. Kelleher said he didn’t want to move, but the lack of outfield signs was a financial burden.

The team did surveys last summer and found that the Groton-Mystic area’s demographics were similar to those of Newport, R.I., site of the NECBL’s most successful franchise.

So the Bristol group approached Groton about making the necessary improvements to Fitch’s baseball field. After some hang-ups, the legal wrangling appears to be over for the most part. Now, the lighting has to be put in place as well as new bleachers, bathrooms, concession stands and a press box.

“We’re hoping for about 500 fans a game. We would love to see 1,000, but it’s not going to take a whole lot to fill the place,” Kelleher said.

The focus is on families with $5 general admission tickets, no alcohol being sold, no cigarettes allowed and a picnic area with a view of the field.

Kelleher also doesn’t think his team will take business away from the short season, Single-A Connecticut Tigers at Dodd Stadium in Norwich. He already spoke with Tigers G.M. Andrew Weber about promotions and other issues.

“We have some crossover customers, but they’re a professional team with a ballpark,” Kelleher said.

He also said he would like the teams to play each other, but an exhibition game is not likely due to scheduling.

The Schooners will play 21 home games this summer, all beginning at 6:30 p.m. and, unlike the Tigers, will be staffed solely by volunteers.

Bob Peruzzotti will be the team’s community development coordinator. Bill Donovan is the team’s press box coordinator and is putting together some Sunday night radio broadcasts.

“We’re going to be putting out volunteer and host family applications soon,” Kelleher said. “This is all volunteers and we want to keep it that way. This is a nonprofit organization and it belongs to the community.”

The team’s roster is set for the season with 12 players from Connecticut already signed up, including Virginia Tech freshman Colin O’Keefe. O’Keefe’s father, former Waterford baseball coach Jack, is helping the Schooners.

Ray Ricker will be the manager. Former local standout, Travis Turgeon, a 2009 Springfield College graduate, is the assistant coach.

Dodd hosting tourney

Speaking of baseball, there will be some at Dodd Stadium prior to the Connecticut Tigers’ new season.

Before the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament takes place there, Dodd will host the Northeast Conference’s championship tournament May 19-22.

It’s the first time the NEC tournament will be at Dodd. The 2010 league champion, Central Connecticut State University, played in the NCAA Northeast Regional along with UConn, Oregon and Florida State at Dodd last year.

“This will be a great opportunity for baseball fans in Connecticut to see a top-tier, Division I conference play for an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament and to showcase Dodd Stadium as a premier minor league facility,” Tigers general manager Andrew Weber said in a press release.

The Northeast Conference has three Connecticut schools in it: CCSU, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac. The NEC championship tournament will follow a four team, double-elimination format."

Nice to see the crossover promos the Tigers and college team will have and the continued use of Dodd in the "off season" by Connecticut not only for the NEC but a couple of UCONN games that are scheduled as well.


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