There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
On November 7, 2014 the Bristol Blues became the newest member of the Futures League, as the former Old Orchard Beach franchise moved to historic Muzzy Field. Muzzy Field is no stranger to summer collegiate baseball, as the NECBL’s Bristol Nighthawks (1994-95) and the Bristol Collegiate Baseball Club (2000) have called the central Connecticut city home.
Muzzy Field has a long and storied history, with baseball having been played on the site since 1912. In addition to serving as home to several high school baseball and football teams, Muzzy Field has been the home field for the University of Hartford baseball squad and the Big East baseball tournament from 1985 to 1995. In fact, Muzzy Field’s history stretches back so far that local legend states that Babe Ruth hit the first home run in the park’s history during a barnstorming tour in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Muzzy Field has hosted minor league baseball over the course of its history, serving as home to the Bristol Owls of the Colonial League in 1949 to 1950 and the AA Eastern League’s Bristol Red Sox from 1972 to 1982. Future Red Sox stars who passed through Bristol on their way to Boston include Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, and Butch Hobson.
In 2012 the Bristol city council approved funding to renovate Muzzy Field. Renovations included a new front entrance and public concourse, new lighting, seating, ADA improvements, and the connecting of a new grandstand on Muzzy Street with the rest of the existing grandstand. Renovations cost approximately $2.5 million and were completed in time for the premier of the Blues.
The name Blues is a nod to part owner Elliot Scheiner, a seven time Grammy award winner.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
For a ballpark the size of Muzzy Field, there is a surprising amount of concessions available here.
There are four concession stands around Muzzy Field, two permanently built into the concourse, and two temporary tents, where food is grilled for fans. The menu doesn't stray from ballpark standards, with hot dogs ($2.00), burgers ($3.00/$3.50), bratwursts ($3.50), and for the very hungry, double cheeseburgers ($5.50) sold at all the stands. A sampling of snacks are sold at Blues games, including peanuts ($2.00), chips ($1.50), popcorn ($1.50), assorted candy ($1.50), cracker jacks ($2.00), and sunflower seeds ($2.00). Bottles of Pepsi products are sold for $2.00.
Fans looking for adult beverages can choose from cans of Budweiser, Bud Light, Yeungling, Sam Adams Summer Ale, and Twisted Tea.
While the selection of food won't blow you away at Muzzy Field, the prices are very reasonable and the quality is very good.
A big draw for many fans of collegiate summer baseball is the laid-back atmosphere at the games, in particular the lack of over the top promotions. The Futures League, run by former minor league executives, comes closer than other leagues to the typical minor league experience, but without the intrusiveness typical of many minor league ballparks.
There are between inning contests featuring the many children in attendance, along with the typical between inning music and walk-up songs, but these distractions are held to a minimum. This type of atmosphere feels very appropriate in an older ballpark such as Muzzy Field.
The right field area here features a small party area, where fans can congregate in groups to watch the action from field level. Some fans choose to bring their own seats and hang out in this area rather than the more traditional seating areas.
Bristol is a small city in western Connecticut, with a population of just over 60,000 residents located about 20 miles southwest of Hartford. Sports fans will recognize Bristol as the home of ESPN. While the ESPN campus does not do tours, travelers wishing to sneak a peak of the Worldwide Leader's home will find ESPN headquarters about four miles southwest of Muzzy Field on Route 229.
Visitors to Bristol will probably not stay in the city, but continue on to the nearby larger cities of Hartford or New Haven, about 30 miles to the south. The twin Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are located just over an hour to the east.
For fans wanting to stay in Bristol, there are many dining and shopping choices near Muzzy Field, especially on Route 6, which runs about a mile from the ballpark. Several hotels are located within a ten minute drive of Muzzy Field, most of them clustered around Interstate 84 and the ESPN campus. The biggest local attraction, Lake Compounce amusement park, is located four miles from Muzzy Field.
The Blues have been embraced by the Bristol community thus far in their inaugural season, averaging almost 1,200 fans per game, placing them in the middle of the Futures League attendance rankings. Crowds of over 3,000 have packed Muzzy Field for games. It is not unusual to see the covered grandstand packed for games, with the bleachers farther down the foul lines utilized for overflow.
As any veteran fan of the Futures League will tell you, summer collegiate baseball in New England is a fantastic gathering place for families, and the crowds in Bristol are no different. In fact, part of the fun at Blues games is watching the many children in attendance pursue foul balls and interact with the players.
Muzzy Field is most easily accessed by car, as it is located just off of route 72 in Bristol. Most fans will arrive in Bristol via Interstate 84 or Route 6. Traffic around Hartford can be difficult at times, but this far away from the capital city, traffic is less of a concern. Public transportation does not access Muzzy Field, so driving is the only way to go.
Some of the recent renovations to Muzzy Field focused on improving the exterior flow of the ballpark, and these improvements are evident immediately upon arriving at Muzzy Field. In front of the ballpark is a large, nicely manicured entry plaza with paved walkways and a dedication arch. Fans will be able to enter the ballpark through a new entry plaza with plenty of room to move about before entering the seating area. There are a pair of restrooms that are newly renovated and more than adequate for a typical Blues crowd.
Most fans will choose to spend the extra dollar to sit in the covered grandstand that sits behind home plate. This area, while somewhat cramped, is not uncomfortable. The net behind home plate does not extend very far up the baseline, so many seats have no obstruction at all. There is a light pole on the third base line that is in the way of some seats. General admission seats allow fans to sit in the bleachers on either baseline. There is a net obstructing the view on the first base bleachers, but not third base. Fans wishing to stand will not find much room at Muzzy Field, and will most likely seek out the party area in right field, where fans congregate at picnic tables to take in the action.
Tickets for Blues games are reasonably priced, with reserved grandstand tickets (the covered grandstand) sold for $6. General admission tickets, good for the bleachers that run down either foul line, are sold for $5. Seniors, children, and military personnel receive further discounts.
Parking at Muzzy Field is free, with spots available on the surrounding streets or in the lots adjacent to the ball field. Combine this with inexpensive food and souvenirs, and a night at a Bristol Blues game is an inexpensive alternative for baseball fans in central Connecticut.
Many ballparks throughout New England claim "Babe Ruth played here," much in the same way that you might see "George Washington slept here" in old hotels. Muzzy Field honors Ruth's visit to central Connecticut with a large #3 banner on the right field fence, colored half in Yankee pinstripes and half in Red Sox colors. This decor is even more fitting when you consider that this area is the dividing line between Red Sox and Yankee country.
Another extra point is awarded for the renovations that kept the old-time feel of Muzzy Field while modernizing the exterior of the park. From the nicely manicured entry plaza to the wide open, walkable concourse behind the grandstand, Muzzy Field is a comfortable park in which to move about.
A final extra point is awarded to the Blues theme, honoring part owner Elliot Scheiner. From the Dodgers-inspired uniforms to the zoot suited Mascot who carries a saxophone, named B.B. after B.B. King, the theme permeates much of the game day experience at Muzzy Field.
The Futures League has given new life to several abandoned minor league ballparks across New England. Muzzy Field, with its long and storied history, has fit seamlessly into this circuit. The level of play in Futures League is reputed to be a step behind its neighbors in the Cape Cod League and the New England Collegiate Baseball League, but the quality of play is improving in the league's fifth season. Thirty players from the Futures League were selected in MLB's 2015 Entry Draft, including the league's initial first round pick. Fans looking for a break from the noise and expense of minor league baseball should give summer college baseball a look. You won't be sorry.
Follow Paul Baker's Stadium Journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
There are no crowd reviews yet. Be the first and help us build with your expertise!
84 Farmington Ave.
Bristol, CT 06010
90 Burlington Ave.
Bristol, CT 06010
186 Enterprise Dr.
Bristol, CT 06010
100 Maple St.
Bristol, CT 06010
42 Century Dr.
Bristol, CT 06010
120 Laning St.
Southington, CT 06489
1096 West St.
Southington, CT 06489