NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Senator Richard Blumenthal is the latest ‘heavy-hitter’ to step up to the plate to try to save minor league baseball in eastern Connecticut.
The newly named Norwich Sea Unicorns – which used to be the Connecticut Tigers – are among 42 minor league teams which would be eliminated under a new Major League Baseball plan.
Senator Blumenthal saying the chop would “cripple minor league baseball for more profit.”
Norwich’s Mayor, Pete Nystrom, saying the minor league teams in the state are important because it gives young families an affordable way to experience professional sports.
“I know you’re going to hit a grand slam for us,” Norwich Sea Unicorns’ Senior Vice President C.J. Knudsen told Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut, at a press conference in Norwich City Council Chambers Friday.
Knudsen has written to leaders in all 42 affected communities to try to strike out the MLB plan.
Governor Lamont, members of congress, and now Senator Blumenthal are going to bat for the Rose city.
“Very glad to have him lend his voice to this message and he gets right to the point,” said Mayor Nystrom of Blumenthal.
The senator plans to play hard ball by eliminating the MLB’s antitrust exemptions if it continues to try to eliminate the minor league teams.
“Without that antitrust exemption they very simply might well not be able to bargain together with vendors, with players, and with others,” explained Sen. Blumenthal.
The new name of the Norwich team has been in effect for three months now, and already the new mascot is a big hit with both kids and adults.
“Since we’re the ‘Sea Unicorns,’ I’m going to every game. I’ve been a season ticket holder since 1995,” said Kathy Bryant of Lisbon.
Whatever happens with the MLB decision, the Sea Unicorns will play at Dodd Stadium for the 2020 season.
Negotiations between major and minor league baseball will determine if the team takes the field beyond that.
“There’s only 160 minor league baseball teams in the entire country, so to have one in your backyard is pretty special,” said Knudsen.
Opening day for the Norwich Sea Unicorns is June 21st, 2020.