Fuessenich Field – Torrington Titans
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.29
Torrington, CT 06790
Year Opened: 1918
Frederick Fussenich’s Field
In 1918 Frederick Fuessenich donated eight acres of land to the town of Torrington to be used as a “place of amusement and recreation for the men, women, and children of Torrington”. Over the years this land has been used for a variety of purposes, including baseball, soccer, ice skating, and carnivals.
Fuessenich Park also served as a professional ballpark, if only for one season. The Torrington Braves of the short-lived Colonial League called Fuessenich Park home for one season in 1950. The Colonial League actually folded before the end of the 1950 season, relegating Torrington and its quaint little park to obscurity for decades. It served the town well, hosting local American Legion and amateur baseball until the New England Collegiate Baseball League came calling in 1997. The Torrington Twisters played in the NECBL for a dozen years before moving to Paul Walsh Field in New Bedford, MA. In 2010 the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League placed a team in Torrington, where the Titans led the league in attendance. The Carminucci Sports Group purchased the team for their new enterprise, the Futures League, where the Titans have played since the league’s inception in 2011.
Food & Beverage 3
There is a single concession stand located underneath the grandstand at Fuessenich Park offering your standard ballpark fare. Hot Dogs ($3), hamburgers ($5), chicken fingers ($5), and French fries ($3) are sold here. Items can be combined with fries into a combo meal to save a buck or two, and veggie burgers are sold as an alternative. The menu’s centerpiece is the “Titan Burger”, which features two burger patties, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a grilled bun for $7. Cans of Coca-Cola products are available for $1.50, as well as bottles of Snapple for $3.
A variety of snacks, including candy, chips, pretzels, sunflower seeds, peanuts, ice cream novelties, and fried dough can also be purchased here. New for 2014 is the portable beer stand, which sells Budweiser, Bud Light, and Shock Top for $4.50, as well as Long Trail IPA and Heineken for $5.50. It’s an impressive menu for a stand of this size.
Of all the summer collegiate leagues in New England, the Futures League tries the hardest to be similar to the game day experience of the minor leagues. Batters come to the plate accompanied by their individual walk-up songs, and there are plenty of between inning contests and promotions. Unfortunately, in a smaller venue like Fuessenich Park with a small crowd, these games and gimmicks often fall flat. For example, I witnessed three people turn down the opportunity at a seat upgrade from the bleachers to a pair of recliners located directly behind home plate. Also, due to the dearth of children in attendance, the same group of kids got to participate in several between innings contests.
Still, the Titans staff try hard to get the fans involved, and the contests are enjoyable. The contests aren’t so intrusive as to distract from one’s enjoyment of the game, and the atmosphere at a Titans game straddles the line between laid-back and upbeat well.
Fuessenich Park is located adjacent to the Torrington Armory in downtown Torrington, a town of 36,000 in northwestern Connecticut. The town is working towards recreating a traditional Main Street environment, and their efforts are evident a short distance from the ballpark. Perhaps most evident is the Warner Theater, a 1930’s era theater which has been restored to its original luster and is now home to the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. Several restaurants, businesses, and parks are in the area. Sunny Brook State Park is nearby, as well as Paugnut State Forest. There’s a definite small-town vibe here, and it’s a nice place to spend a summer afternoon.
Torrington’s attendance has remained constant at around 400-500 fans per game over their four years in the Futures League. This places them in the bottom third of the league in average attendance. The fans here are similar to those you will find at many summer collegiate venues, in that they are very dedicated and knowledgeable about their team and players. Many have connections to the team as house parents or volunteers. It’s not unusual to see a sizeable portion of fans present from the visiting team’s city.
Fuessenich Park is located in downtown Torrington, within walking distance of a shopping plaza, a park, and Main Street. The ballpark is located about a mile from Route 8, the main north-south highway in western Connecticut. Hartford is located approximately 30 miles to the east. Driving to Fuessenich Park is relatively simple, just take exit 44 (Route 202/Downtown Torrington) off of Route 8, follow East Main Street about ¾ of a mile to South Main Street. Coe Place will be on your left, immediately after the Torrington Plaza. Parking is available in a small lot adjacent to the park (beware, this is dangerous foul ball territory), or in a larger lot a short walk away across the street from the Armory.
When you arrive at Fuessenich Park you will enter the ballpark at the top of the seating area. There are six small sections behind home plate featuring individual seating. Down the first base line are three sections of metal bleaches with backs. These seats are a chiropractor’s dream, as they are very hard and angled towards the outfield. The advantage of these seats are that there is no netting to interfere with one’s view. Be aware that the stands here have a steep pitch to them, making for excellent sight lines, but also making them a bit difficult for those with problems walking. Handicapped seating is available at the top level of the seating bowl for those who may require it.
The restrooms and concession stand are located underneath the grandstand behind home plate, accessible by a set of stairs from the bleachers or via a vomitory behind home plate. There is a paved area here as well as a few picnic tables where fans can enjoy their food if they so desire. Farther down the right field line are a couple of rickety looking sets of bleachers that are used only by the visiting team’s bullpen. Also located here is a single bouncy house that gets some use by the kids in attendance.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets for Titans games cost $8 for reserved seating behind home plate, and $6 for general admission bleacher seats. Youths and seniors will enjoy a $2 discount, and children under 12 are admitted for free. A bunch of fans avoided the ticket charge altogether by simply watching the action from behind the fence at the top of the seating bowl. Parking is free in the lot adjacent to the ballpark. These prices, while maybe a little higher than other college parks in the area, are in line with the other teams in the Futures League.
There is not a whole lot going on at a Titans game that will qualify as extra here at Fuessenich Park. The Titans hold a 50/50 raffle each night to raise funds for operating costs, as well as several between inning promotions to create fan involvement. In Torrington, the game is the main focus.
Fuessenich Park has been serving the citizens of Torrington for close to 100 years. While unsuccessful in its one brief attempt at hosting professional baseball, it has found a successful niche as a summer college ballpark. The Futures League has staked a claim to several abandoned minor league ballparks in New England, giving Torrington several sister cities to band with. Ballpark chasers will find Fuessenich Park a quaint and unique venue at which to catch a game.