Sean and I headed over for the first game of a Sunday afternoon double-header between the North Shore Navigators and Bristol Blues of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) at Muzzy Field in Bristol, CT, best known as the home of ESPN.
It was a good game, with the Blues holding a 2-1 lead going into the final inning.
The Navs tied it up and had a runner on second base with one out. The batter hit a slow roller to third, and the third baseman faked a throw to first and then threw to third where the runner had rounded the base, catching him in a pickle. It looked like the runner was dead to rights, but the Bristol third baseman stayed in the baseline, got in the way of the runner to an extent, and was called for obstruction, which allowed the runner in the pickle to score what would turn out to be the game-winning run. (You can watch the play here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNZpRZUrOII&feature=youtu.be&a= — at about the 2:05:15 mark).
Bristol manager Ronnie Palmer argued the call initially, and then after the next batter came to bat, hurled an f-bomb at the umpire who made the obstruction call, which got him ejected.
Palmer getting his money’s worth with the umpire after being ejected
Palmer raced out onto the field and argued with the umpire for a couple minutes before eventually leaving the field.
The Navs needed a great catch by their left fielder up against the outfield wall in the bottom of the inning to hold on for a 3-2 win.
Sean got a couple balls. One was hit to the area where a blues band named “Murray the Wheel” was setting up to play between games of the double-header. We had been on the other side of the field, and when we came over an inning later, I noticed the ball sitting in their area. I told Sean he could ask them for the ball if he wanted, but that they may want to keep it.
They gave Sean the ball, and even signed it for him, not that Sean was looking for the signature. But thanks to Murray the Wheel for hooking Sean up!
Sean got another, non-signed ball, too.
It’s the first regular season ball I have seen from any league that has the year (2018) on the ball. Very cool!
We also got a lineup card from North Shore manager Todd Alford after the game. Alford seemed like a good guy, and we talked for a couple minutes about the crazy obstruction play that helped his team earn the win.
2018: 8 lineup cards (5 dugout/bullpen; 2 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup”)
Lifetime: 165 lineup cards (112 dugout/bullpen; 49 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 2 “today’s lineup”)
Leagues: MLB: American League; National League; 2017 ALDS. MiLB: International League (AAA); Pacific Coast League (AAA); Eastern League (AA); Southern League (AA); Carolina League (A); New York-Penn League (A), including 2017 NYPL ASG. Independent Leagues: Atlantic League; Can-Am League; American Association; Frontier League. Colleges: NCAA – America East Conference; NCAA – American Athletic Conference; NCAA – Ivy League; NCAA – Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; NCAA – Northeast Conference; Cape Cod League; NJCAA – Region XXI; New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL); Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL); Cal Ripken Summer Collegiate League. International: World Baseball Classic (qualifying round, 2016).
The Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) held their All Star Game at Muzzy Field in Bristol, CT, conveniently just one town away from where we live.
I took the day off and headed over for gates opening at 3pm. There were maybe a dozen or so people there at 3pm, mostly family members. On the field, the players were taking part in a pro scouting day.
It was essentially held like a tryout of sorts, an opportunity for pro scouts to closely look at the players. For example, outfielders fielded a few balls each and throw to third or home. Infielders took a variety of ground balls. It was interesting to watch.
Outfielders fielding and throwing from right field to third base
Meanwhile, I was on the lookout for ASG balls. Sean and I had already gotten three during a regular season game the previous week, which took away some of the suspense of getting the first ball, which I found outside the stadium, beyond the right field fence near a pickup truck.
There were no kids around to start, and I was able to easily find three easter eggs.
Can you spot the ball underneath the bleachers in this pic?
Batting Practice started around 4pm. There were still few people around, so I was able to get a couple balls hit over the fence.
A few kids started to appear and shortly thereafter FCBL employees finally started to track down balls, so I headed beyond the RF fence / stadium fence where a few more BP homers were hit.
In all, I ended up with 10 balls, two of which I gave away. Here is what they look like:
The FCBL just started to use special ASG balls last year. It’s a unique, cool ball to get, especially with the blue-red laces.
I decided to leave after BP, satisfied with what I had seen and having gotten a few balls, and knowing it would become a zoo by the time the HR derby started.
Kate, Sean, cousin George and I traveled to Bristol, home of ESPN, to watch the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs take on the Bristol Blues in a Futures Collegiate Baseball League game at historic Muzzy Field earlier this week.
Muzzy Field has been used since 1912 and most notable was home to the AA Bristol Red Sox from 1972-1982. Also of note, Babe Ruth and the Yankees played a game there, as did other barnstorming MLB teams of that era.
I went to a game at Muzzy Field last year, and they’ve updated some things since then. Most notably, there are now areas on the first and third base lines that allow you to stand right near each dugout.
The Blues jumped all over the Dirt Dawgs early and won 9-4. After the game, we easily scored both lineup cards:
Both are the generic FCBL lineup cards, although they are quite nice with the FCBL logo watermark. The only real difference is that the Dirt Dawgs kept score on their card.
2016: 27 lineup cards (22 dugout/bullpen; 5 “official batting order”)