Muzzy Field - Bristol Blues
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Bristol, CT 06010
Year Opened: 1939
Baseball has been played on the site of Muzzy Field since 1912, when local businessman and politician Adrian Muzzy donated a parcel of land to the city of Bristol. Used over the years for baseball, football, soccer and even rodeos, the facility’s brick grandstand was added in 1939. Even today, Muzzy Field continues to be home for several local baseball and football teams.
Muzzy Field’s history goes so far back that local legend states Babe Ruth hit the first home run here in 1919. Muzzy Field was home to the Bristol Owls of the Colonial League in 1949 and 1950, and the Eastern League’s Bristol Red Sox from 1972 to 1982. Notable future Red Sox who passed through Bristol on their way to Boston include Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Butch Hobson. The Green Bay Packers even played a game here in 1943.
More recently, the Hartford Hawks played at Muzzy Field prior to opening Fiondella Field, and the Big East Conference held their annual postseason tournament at Muzzy Field from 1985 to 1995. Two New England Collegiate Baseball League teams have previously called Muzzy Field home, the Bristol Nighthawks (1994-95) and the Bristol Collegiate Baseball Club (2000).
The Bristol Blues joined the Futures League as an expansion team in 2015. After experiencing some success in this circuit, including a trip to the championship round in their inaugural season, the Blues moved to the rival NECBL in 2020.
Food & Beverage 3
For a smaller ballpark, Muzzy Field has a decent variety of concession options. Standard ballpark fare is sold at the park’s two concession stands, including Hummel Brothers hot dogs, burgers and pizza slices. A good assortment of snacks, including nachos, sunflower seeds, peanuts, pretzels and candy are also available. Fans can upgrade their hot dog or nachos with some chili.
Thirsty Blues fans can select from a variety of Pepsi products. If an adult beverage is more your speed, the Blues have you covered with brews including Coors Light, Miller Lite, Blue Moon, Two Roads Li’l Heaven and Vizzy Hard Seltzer.
Prices are most affordable, as no item (not even beer!) costs more than five dollars.
The game day atmosphere here at Muzzy Field is fairly typical of what you’ll find in other small summer college ballparks in the region. The Blues staff work hard, and the result is an enjoyable, family-friendly experience.
Your typical between innings shenanigans take place throughout the game, hosted by an on-field emcee and Mojo, the team’s sunglasses-wearing mascot. The PA Announcer does a nice job without being too obtrusive while a simple scoreboard in right field displays basic game information. A highlight of the day is the mayhem race, where most of the kids in attendance race from foul line to foul line.
For the adults in attendance, there are giveaways, free programs and raffles from local businesses. A 50/50 raffle is conducted, which raises money to help defray operating costs. Half the money collected goes to the team, while a lucky fan goes home with the other half.
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, about 20 miles to the northeast or New Haven, about 40 miles to the south. The Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are located just over an hour’s drive to the east.
While there are not many dining or lodging options within walking distance of Muzzy Field, visiting fans will find ample choices nearby. Route 6, which runs about a mile from the ballpark, contains the bulk of these businesses, most of which are national chains. 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 4 miles from Muzzy Field.
The Blues draw decent crowds to Muzzy Field, generally landing in the middle of the NECBL attendance rankings. The average crowd here ranges between 1,000 and 1,500 fans, a good turnout for this level of baseball.
You’ll find a good mix of young and old, casual and diehard fans taking in the action at this old ballpark. Many of the fans in attendance have a personal connection to the players on the field, and as a result are quite knowledgeable and vocal in their support. Of course, watching the younger fans run around the ballpark chasing foul balls, begging for autographs and hassling Mojo is a highlight of any game at Muzzy Field.
The city of Bristol, Connecticut is located about 20 miles southwest of Hartford. Muzzy Field is most easily accessed by car, located on Route 72 (Park Street). Interstate 84 runs in a north-south direction just a few miles away from the ballpark.
Recent renovations to Muzzy Field have greatly improved flow and accessibility. Concessions and restrooms are located on the exterior side of the grandstand, which is encircled by a wide concourse. While improvements have been made, this old ballpark is not the most accessible place for persons requiring accommodations.
The majority of seating in the brick grandstand is in the form of wooden bleachers with backs, which run from behind home plate down the third base line. There are aluminum bleachers on the first base line, which are raised about eight feet above the field behind the visitors’ dugout, as well as a pair of aluminum bleachers further down the left field line to handle larger crowds. Some fans will gravitate towards the picnic tables in the grove further down the right field line. The seating area is cozy, but not cramped. With the typical crowds at a Blues game, there is room to spread out.
Be warned that if you are sitting anywhere in either grandstand, nets will obstruct your view of the field. In an unusual quirk, the light poles at Muzzy Field are located in front of the grandstand, meaning that some seats have obstructed views.
Return on Investment 5
Taking in a game at Muzzy Field is a most affordable entertainment option for central Connecticut baseball fans. All seats are sold as general admission for only six dollars. Free parking is available in a pair of decent sized lots adjacent to the ball field, and additional free parking is available on the streets around Muzzy Field. Concessions are reasonably priced, with no item costing more than five dollars.
A pair of extra points are awarded for the sense of baseball history present here at Muzzy Field, from the old brick grandstand with the wooden bleachers to the ring of tall pine trees that line the outfield.
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 design choice is fitting when you consider that Bristol sits on the dividing line between Red Sox and Yankee territory. Among the other honorees in the right field corner is a banner with Jim Rice’s number 14.
A final extra point is awarded to the Blues theme, honoring one of the team’s founders, Elliot Scheiner. Mr. Scheiner is an eight-time Grammy and two-time Emmy Award winning producer and engineer.
Muzzy Field is an excellent example of a historic ballpark that has been given new life through the establishment of summer college baseball. Recent renovations have given this old ballpark a new feel while retaining much of its historic character. Taking in a game at a historic park with affordable prices and a modern game day presentation is certainly the best of both worlds. After a few failed tries at summer college ball, it looks like the Blues are here to stay in Bristol.