New Britain Rock Cats

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New Britain Rock Cats
Founded in 1983
New Britain, Connecticut
NBrockcats.PNG New Britain Rock Cats (cap insignia).png
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Current Double-A (1983 – present)
Minor league affiliations
League Eastern League (1983 – present)
Division Eastern Division
Major league affiliations
Current Colorado Rockies (2015-present)
Previous

Boston Red Sox (1983–1994)

Minnesota Twins (1995–2014)
Minor league titles
League titles 1983, 2001 (Co-Champion)
Division titles 1998, 2001
Team data
Nickname New Britain Rock Cats (1997–present)
Previous names

Hardware City Rock Cats (1995–1996)

  • New Britain Red Sox (1983–1994)
Colors Red, Black, Gray, Tan, White
                        
Ballpark New Britain Stadium (1996 – present)
Previous parks Beehive Field (1983–1995)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
RJ Parent
Manager Jeff Smith

The New Britain Rock Cats are the Double-A minor league baseball affiliate of the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball club. They compete in the Eastern League and play their home games at New Britain Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut.

History[edit]

The franchise's timeline can be traced back to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where they were a Boston Red Sox Double-A affiliate from 1965 to 1969. The franchise then moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in 1970, and spent three years in the Ocean State. When the Pawtucket Red Sox became a Triple-A team in 1973, the BoSox moved their double-A franchise to Bristol, Connecticut. Known as the Bristol Red Sox, the team played at Muzzy Field for ten seasons from 1973 to 1982. Starting with the 1983 season, owner Joe Buzas moved the team some ten miles east to New Britain. Then known as the New Britain Red Sox, the team played its home games at Beehive Field, which is still standing next to the current stadium.

As Beehive Field became outdated and new facilities began to pop up in other cities around the league, Buzas was faced with the choice of staying in New Britain and building a new stadium, versus moving the franchise again. The Red Sox front office, led by Dan Duquette supported the idea of moving to Springfield, Massachusetts, because it was closer to their fan base and closer to the Western Massachusetts home of Duquette. Ultimately, however, in August 1994, Buzas decided to keep the franchise in New Britain. The Red Sox promptly pulled their affiliation and instead chose to affiliate with the Trenton Thunder in the capital city of New Jersey, which was actually farther away from the fan base. For the 1995 season, Buzas, who owned the Salt Lake Buzz (Minnesota triple A), signed a new development agreement with the Minnesota Twins, and this affiliation has continued since. During the 1995 season (their only season in Beehive Field), the team was known as the Hardware City Rock Cats, a reference to New Britain's nickname "The Hardware City". The current ballpark, New Britain Stadium, opened in 1996. The team name changed to the current "New Britain" Rock Cats in 1997. Stanley Works continues to be a significant sponsor of the team and ballpark.

During 2003 and 2004, the team was involved in several lawsuits over its night game fireworks displays. A group of residents living near the stadium claimed the noise was disruptive, and the ash and debris damaged their cars and homes. In May 2005, Judge Marshall Berger allowed the shows to continue after attending one himself, but ruled that they should be limited to Friday nights only. This compromise seems to have worked, since the neighborhood group no longer complains, and the Friday night games are usually sold out, due in part to the post game Fireworks Displays.

On July 12, 2008, the Rock Cats established a franchise record for single game attendance. The crowd of 8,115 marked the first time the 8,000 mark was surpassed for a game at New Britain Stadium. This record was broken on June 27, 2009, with a crowd of 8,212. On July 10, 2013, the Rock Cats hosted the Eastern League All-Star Game at New Britain Stadium. The event drew 8,633 fans, shattering the previous single game attendance record. The Rock Cats reached the 8,000 mark once again on May 31, 2014 with a crowd of 8,079.

On June 4, 2014, it was announced that the Rock Cats will move to Hartford, Connecticut in 2016, signing a 25 year lease for a new stadium that will be built. [1]

Rock Cats radio play-by-play voice Jeff Dooley is the brother-in-law of Red Sox TV play-by-play man Don Orsillo.

On September 16, 2014, the Minnesota Twins severed their affiliation ties with the Rock Cats.

Popular culture[edit]

The New Britain Rock Cats were featured in an episode of ESPN's Mayne Street short comedy series.

An article about the Rock Cats can be seen below an article about the South Carolina Buzz (the fictional AAA affiliate of the Twins) during a bus scene in Major League: Back to the Minors.

Roster[edit]

New Britain Rock Cats roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

  • 24 Delta Cleary, Jr.
  • 18 Brian Humphries
  •  5 Tyler Massey
  •  6 Jared Simon

Manager

  • 26 Kevin Riggs

Coaches


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Colorado Rockies 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated September 17, 2014
Transactions
More MiLB rosters
Colorado Rockies minor league players


Notable alumni[edit]

Danny Valencia, with the Rock Cats

Season records[edit]

Season Manager W-L Win % Finish Playoffs Results
1995 Sal Butera 65–77 .458 5th
1996 Al Newman 61–81 .430 5th
1997 Al Newman 70–72 .493 3rd
1998 John Russell 83–59 .585 1st Won Semifinals
Lost League Championship Series
New Britain 3, Binghamton 1
Harrisburg 3, New Britain 1
1999 John Russell 59–82 .418 5th
2000 John Russell 51–91 .359 6th
2001 Stan Cliburn 87–55 .613 1st Won Semifinals
League Championship Series Cancelled 1
New Britain 3, Norwich 1
New Britain 0, Reading 0
2002 Stan Cliburn 67–72 .482 4th
2003 Stan Cliburn 73–68 .518 2nd Lost Semifinals New Haven 3, New Britain 2
2004 Stan Cliburn 70–70 .500 3rd
2005 Stan Cliburn 70–71 .496 4th
2006 Riccardo Ingram 64–78 .451 6th
2007 Riccardo Ingram 69–72 .489 4th
2008 Bobby Cuellar 64–77 .454 5th
2009 Tom Nieto 72-69 .511 2nd Lost Semifinals Connecticut Defenders 3, New Britain 1
2010 Jeff Smith 44–98 .310 6th
2011 Jeff Smith 72–70 .507 3rd
2012 Jeff Smith 75–67 .528 3rd
2013 Jeff Smith 66–76 .465 5th
2014 Jeff Smith 73–69 .514 3rd
12001 League Championship was canceled due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Mascots[edit]

Game Mascots:

  • Rocky the Rock Cat (main mascot)
  • Rookie the Rock Cat (Rocky's nephew)
  • Sandy the Lion
  • Blooper the Walrus
  • Toner the Advance Copy's Copy Cat

Sponsored Inning Mascots:

  • The Dunkin' Donuts Trio – Coffee, Iced Coffee, and Donut

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/New-Britain-Rock-Cats-Move-To-Hartford-Baseball-Minor-League-Restall-Mayor-Stewart-261577721.html

Related[edit]

Professional baseball in Connecticut

External links[edit]