Log in Register

 

 Sunday October 21, 2018

Marilyn Moore for State Senate Curtis Ryan Honda Housatonic Community College Downtown Cabaret Theatre The Barnum Museum
Bridgeport Public LibraryOIB the book

Bluefish Reel In Final Season

September 17th, 2017 · 15 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Development and Zoning, News and Events

Bluefish final game

Final Bluefish game. Photo: Gregory Vasil / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Sometimes fans don’t know how to say hello until it’s time to say goodbye. Just about everything has a shelf life and after 20 years the Bridgeport Bluefish on Sunday played their last game at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the first three years an average attendance of roughly 4,500 per game, but in recent years well below that figure. Kudos to loyalists in good times and lean years. Crowds in the final weekend rivaled the early years, but as Carmen Macisco of Newtown told the CT Post “If they supported it like last night, maybe they’d still be here.”

The season average was 2,984, a tick above the past couple of seasons, well up from the depths of around 2,000 in 2012 but still regularly last in the league. (This was also the first winning season here since 2011.)

Following a request for proposals in which the Bluefish entered a bid, Mayor Joe Ganim selected a joint venture advanced by concert promoter Live Nation, led in Connecticut by Jim Koplik, and former Bridgeport Sound Tigers President Howard Saffan, to transform the ballpark into a concert amphitheater including a $15 million renovation to start spring 2019. The proposal is under negotiation and is expected to come before the City Council in early 2018.

The Fish recently announced a new home in High Point, NC with an expected opening in a new stadium in 2019. It’s unclear where they’ll play in 2018.

Bluefish baseball was a psychological shot in the arm for the city when it opened in 1998 under an ownership team that included current Bridgeport Regional Business Council President Mickey Herbert and then husband-wife Jack McGregor and Mary-Jane Foster.

The ballpark land had been owned by Donald Trump who purchased the old Jenkins Valve site as a prospective location for a gaming destination. In 1995 the State Senate rejected expanded casino gambling beyond the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun destinations in eastern Connecticut.

Bluefish ownership eyed the old industrial site as a fit for professional baseball. In negotiations with Ganim, Trump deeded the property to the city in exchange for forgiving more than $200,000 in back taxes. Trump let the taxes go in lieu of a casino development interest.

Bridgeport became the landlord and the Bluefish had a home as an independent league team.

Share

Tags: ·······

15 Comments so far ↓

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    Wondering how Mr. mayor Bill Finch felt sitting in the stands watching Mr. mayor JG2 getting booed off the field ….

  • jo1986

    In case you’re looking for video/audio of that booing, here you go
    https://vimeo.com/234254190

  • Steven Auerbach

    spectators acting like little kids that got a beautiful.Played with it a few times and put it back on the shelf for years. The parents decided to give it away. How long was the city and a few fans going to be able to support what was going to be a big deal that ended up being a liability.Ganim should have never shown up for this event.

    Jennifer B. I can not imagine Mayor Finch would be excited. His loss of the election was devastating. Ganim has proved to be resilient and just showing up to this event shows leadership. I would have advised him to take the evening off and enjoy time with his family. People will think differently when there is a successful amphitheater there. Maybe the residents will not show up to that either and it will close.

    The future of this city is the youth moving in that will support these ventures. We hope.

    I am sorry for the bluefish fans. You can not say the city and the marketing groups haven’t tried everything to get spectators to the field.

  • Stringfellow

    What will happen to the new venue when the luster wears off or the acts are not attractive and the attendance is poor?

    This is what happened to the Bluefish they could not have the same caliber of players since they won it all in 1998.

    They seemed to slowly go downhill and the team was bleeding money.

    The new venue will have its grand opening with all the fan fare but soon enough it won’t be so attractive, what then?

    One of the many failures is there isn’t anything to attract people before an event or to keep them around after. No family venue restaurants close by. So it’s the same for all events people come to the event and then look for the fastest way home.

    Other than a handful of events the arena is seldom sold out and goes unused for most of the summer. With the end of the circus what is the arena going to do to fill the days the circus used?

    I think many a lesson can be learned with the loss of the Bluefish I hope those who planned this new venue are paying attention.

  • Frank Gyure

    Monday Morning @8am. September 18. Here comes the MGM casino

  • Jimfox

    The Boo’s are getting louder Joe Ganim, from Black Rock and just about every hamlet in Bridgeport.

    This Secret Government of Joe Gainm and Mario Testa continues, from the $410 million Theater project on Main St. North, to the backdoor deals like transforming the ballpark into a $15 million concert amphitheater.
    This seventies throwback Government also put your Ass in Jail!

    Your Secret Government, reminds me of that old song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3iEFfA4TmIThe

    • Jimfox

      Even the people on the train passing by, were Booing!!!

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Joe Ganim was booed off the field because he is a failure, again. For all his political savvy Joseph P. Ganim’s second act as mayor is going to end as ungloriously as the first. He was booed for not making good on campaign promises. Joseph P. Ganim is a convicted felon and a documented liar. He lost his license to practice law because Superior Court judge Barbara Bellis ruled he had not been truthful on the witness stand during his trial, had not admitted to wrongdoing or expressed remorse for his crimes. judge Bellis’s ruling was upheld by a panel of three Superior Court judges and the State Supreme Court. 

      Now this political quack thinks the state if Connecticut will overlook his moral and ethical deficiencies? 

  • John Marshall Lee

    City interest is in economic development and that means income or revenue that is dependable. One of Finch’s financial officers thought that rent from Bluefish was coming in so rent was booked (accrued) and the books looked good until a subsequent financial officer recognizes that matters, legal or otherwise, have indicated that this entry was in error and needs to be reversed. So it shows up in May and June 2017 monthly report, as a -$500,000 entry where only revenues are posted for Miscellaneous PILOT income and there is no public comment from the B&A meeting?
    And then the number disappears in the July 17-18 FY report under 2017 Actual? Now you see it. Now you don’t. It is not magic. There is a reason for accounting practices. But do we get genuine honesty and accountability? Time will tell.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Well today we are talking a 675 million dollar casino. I wonder if people are booing or in awe? Jennifer? Jim?

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      The rendering is amazing. The MGM numbers are mind boggling. Out neighboring town has a small by MGM standards casino with a race track and an equine hospital. It attracts a lot of area people- especially for races, the food and entertainment. If managed property it can be a bonus.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      This is pie-in-the-sky, Steven. It looks great on paper with the expensive artist’s rendering but it’s all for show. Ganim is desperate, searching everywhere for a major oroject to claim as his own. His political “redemption” is a wash, a total wash.

      Building a goddamned casino is not going to remedy the city’s problems, will not privide funding to clean up the untaxable brown fields all over, will not magically improve the Bridgeport public education system, will not force out the political corruption that has plagued the city since the ninteenth century,

Leave a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.