Bristol Blues stomp into NECBL

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/8/2019 9:40:50 PM
Modified: 11/8/2019 9:40:36 PM

The New England Collegiate Baseball League announced on Thursday morning that it would be adding a franchise for the second straight year. The Bristol (Conn.) Blues replace the New Bedford (Mass.) Bay Sox to keep the team count at 13.

Bristol plays at 5,000-seat Muzzy Stadium, located in the heart of downtown Bristol. It is now the third team located in Connecticut along with the Danbury Westerners and Mystic Schooners. The Blues are slated to join the NECBL in time for next summer and will play in the Southern Division.

“The Blues organization has done a tremendous job through the years at integrating the team in their community,” NECBL commissioner Sean McGrath said in a news release. “We look forward to bringing some of the best college players in the country to Bristol.”

It is also the second year in a row that the NECBL has added a team from the Futures League. Last year’s arrival was the Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.) Sharks. As opposed to the for-profit business model of the Futures League, the NECBL aims to be a group of 13 nonprofits.

“There was no dissension,” said Bob Dabkowski, one of the Blues’ owners. “This was the right time to do it. Less games, but that’s no problem. We did our due diligence; it’s a stable league. There are a lot more plusses to it.

“We reached out to them (NECBL) a year ago for general information. We spent a lot of time looking at the pros and cons.”

The Blues joined the Futures League in 2015 with a four-person ownership group led by eight-time Grammy Award-winning music producer Elliot Scheiner. The location isn’t new to the NECBL, as the Bristol Nighthawks played two years (1994-95) and the Bristol Collegiate Baseball Club did so in 2010 before moving to Mystic.

The addition of Bristol has resulted in a realignment of the NECBL’s two divisions, with the Holyoke, Mass.-based Valley Blue Sox leaving the Northern — in which the Upper Valley Nighthawks play — to join the Blues in the Southern.

There has been no official announcement of New Bedford leaving the league, but Thursday’s news release identified only 13 teams. The NECBL website has only 13 team logos in the header, with the Bay Sox missing.

The Nighthawks are coming off a 24-20 season, which saw them miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The 2020 schedule is expected to be revealed in January.

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.




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