Norwich fights to save their minor league team as the team moves ahead with new name

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– Signs are being taken down around Dodd Stadium as the team gets ready to reveal a new name.

This all comes as Major League Baseball has come up with a plan which would eliminate about 42 minor league teams including what is now the Connecticut Tigers.

“We definitely think about it,” said CJ Knudsen, Senior Vice President of the former Connecticut Tigers. “It’s a situation where we don’t want the Major League Proposal or Major League Baseball to break the hearts of our fans.”

Both the team and local folks in Norwich are fighting to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“They’re really part of our whole community,” said Mayor Peter Nystrom, (R) Norwich.”The stadium itself, in times when it’s not in use as a baseball facility, is open year-round to every organization that requests it. They’ve really become ingrained in our community itself. They’re partners and partners help each other.”

Several congressmen including Congressman Joe Courtney, are also trying to help. In fact, a congressional task force to save minor league baseball has been established.

This week, Congress formed a bipartisan Save Minor League Baseball Task Force and Governor Ned Lamont sent a letter to the commissioner of baseball stating, “Since 1995, Norwich has proudly been home to a minor league baseball team, and its elimination from the city would be devastating to the thousands of baseball fans in the southeastern region of our state who enjoy attending games each season.”

He also pointed out the $800,000 investment Norwich recently made in the stadium which includes new LED lights for the field and HVAC systems for both clubhouses.

The team which has donated what totals $1.6 million in goods, services, and money to the community said the loss would be devastating.

“But we’re definitely hopeful and we’ll be here on Sunday, June 21 for opening day. 7:05,” said Knudsen.

The team and fans are still holding on to hope.

Thursday afternoon, the team announced on MiLB.com that they have officially changed their name, saying, “After a decade as the Connecticut Tigers, Norwich’s New York-Penn League team has rebranded as the Norwich Sea Unicorns.”

More than 700 hundred people weighed in on the name change.

The team explaining that the name came from their “Name the Team” contest: “This quasi-mythical maritime moniker beat out four other finalists in a “Name the Team” contest, triumphing over Golden Roses, Mill Mules, Narwhals and Salty Dogs.”  

“We knew we wanted an identity that would reflect Norwich and its long and rich history,” General Manager Dave Schermerhorn told the group gathered for the unveiling at Kelly STEAM Magnet Middle School.

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