by Nick Lemley
Tuesday night, June 14th, I attended the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL)’s Valley Blue Sox vs Bristol Blues game at historic Muzzy Field. Muzzy Field has been around since 1912 and has been the home of The Bristol Owls (1949-50), as well as the Bristol Red Sox (1973-82). It was also used by The University of Hartford’s baseball program until 2006 (University opened Fiondella Field in 2006), and was used for the Big East Conference baseball tournament from 1985-95. Muzzy Field was a popular destination for the showcase MLB teams back when they would barnstorm, hosting many, many baseball stars, even players like Babe Ruth made appearances.
The field was about an hour away from me up route 8 in CT. Once I got there the parking was easy and there were enough parking spots for the fans in attendance and as well as people at the local park next to the field. When approaching the main entrance, there is a concourse that stretched behind the stands from the 3rd base line to the 1st. There were concession stands on each side and people grilling hot dogs and burgers all game long next to the main entrance. This particular June 14th game was also “Pride Night” so lining the concourse were tables set up with organizations and groups that are a part of and support the LGBTQ+ community. All around them were kids drawing with chalk on the ground, and every drawing was spreading positivity and love towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Couple more notes on Muzzy Field. It was renovated in 2015 which included a new press box behind home plate, extended roofing over the 1st baseline bleachers. It also added a new fence in front of the dugouts for player safety and new lights. The field itself has a 320 foot right field, 405 foot center field and 341 foot left field and a new scoreboard was installed last year. The original wood benches in the 3rd baseline grandstand are still there, giving the park a really nice mix of the old and new, still preserving some of the history.
Once the first pitches were thrown and the anthem was sung it was time to play ball and from the moment the players took the field, the Blues fans filled the grandstand and were cheering non stop, even arguing bad calls. Throughout the game you could also hear the Blue’s bench and bullpen supporting and hyping up the players after great catches, bad pitches, and good plays. In the sixth inning I was taking photos of The Blues first baseman and Rhode Island native #20 Cal Parrillo (Johnston, Rhode Island College) while he was at bat. In the 6th inning, Parrillo stepped to the plate against a familiar opponent – his RIC teammate Andrew Sears (West Warwick, Rhode Island College). Sears had come into the game to pitch for the Valley Blue Sox in the top of the 5th inning. Parrillo hit a fly ball deep to left field that just made it over the glove and tried for second but was tagged out on a call that seemed like he could’ve been safe. Walking back to my seat, a father asked me if I got that series of events on video because all the Blues fans swore he was safe and he wanted to see the replay.
Parrillo is joined on the Bristol Blues roster by Pitcher MT Morrissey (Portsmouth, Bryant University), who did not appear in the game Tuesday Night. Overall, Cal Parrillo had a good night vs the Blue Sox. Parrillo’s stat line – walked twice, a fly out in the first and a just miss base hit that turned into a 7-4 put out in the sixth, great job on first, recording the first out in the 8th inning and the last out of the game. Andrew Sears pitched 2 scoreless innings, 3Ks, and recorded an important out against his teammate Parrillo that he can brag about when they return to RIC in the fall!
My time at Muzzy Field was great and I’ll definitely get back there again to see the Blues play. The weather that night was perfect, the crowd was always involved and the combination of the old and new at Muzzy Field make it a great place to go and enjoy summer baseball.
Editor’s note: You can catch Andrew Sears and the Valley Blue Sox this Saturday, June 18th right here in Rhode Island as they face the Ocean State Waves at Old Mountain Field, Wakefield. Game time is 6:30pm. And then you can catch Cal Parrillo, MT Morrissey of the Bristol Blues right here in Rhode Island on Tuesday, June 21st as they face the Ocean State Waves at Old Mountain Field, Wakefield. Game time is 6:30pm.