NEWINGTON - Players on the Bristol Knights and Elmerâ€™s Angels (Newington) baseball teams of the Connecticut Twilight League are well into their adult lives, some in their 30s. But that didnâ€™t stop them from feeling like they were kids again on Saturday.
As part of the CTLâ€™s Summer Classic, the two squads faced off against each other in a game played at Dunkinâ€™ Donuts Park in Hartford. Even though each team plays a game on the field every summer, the feeling of walking into the ballpark as players and being able to use the facilities tucked underneath the stadium always brings forth some wide eyes.
â€śFor every one of us, we obviously all wanted to play at a higher level,â€ť Angels coach/infielder Nick Magoulas said. â€śThe chance to play on a field like that, it makes you feel like a kid for a day. It makes you feel like youâ€™re living the dream, so to speak.â€ť
For Bristol manager/infielder Rick Barrett, he loves it when his players/teammates are able to experience the feelings Saturday brought, as he estimated there were â€śa few hundredâ€ť people lining the stands for the Bristol-Elmerâ€™s game and at least â€śa few thousandâ€ť at the entire five-game event that began at 8 a.m. and lasted all day.
â€śI think itâ€™s a great opportunity for some of these players who never got to play in a minor league setting, to get out there on the field and enjoy seeing more than 10 fans at the game,â€ť Barrett said. â€śWhen you step on the field itâ€™s an unbelievable feeling to see how many people are supporting you.â€ť
Both teams are afforded the chance to play at the home of the Bees in New Britain Stadium and the Connecticut Tigersâ€™ Dodd Stadium each year as well, and those experiences also get the players excited, though Magoulas said, â€śHartford is No. 1 by far, just with the quality of it and the surroundings of it.â€ť
Added Barrett: â€śEvery year itâ€™s amazing just to play at one of the best facilities, [Dunkinâ€™ Donuts Park], in minor league baseball across the country. Just to play on those well-groomed fields, itâ€™s a totally different ball game than when you step on a high school field. Itâ€™s a whole different feeling.â€ť
Even though his team lost to Elmerâ€™s that day, 5-3, Bristolâ€™s Sean Cameron was thrilled with the entire day.
â€śIt was an awesome experience. It was a lot of fun,â€ť Cameron said. â€śItâ€™s a top-notch place. We had a great time. They took good care of us.â€ť
Magoulas said the joy of playing at the home of Yard Goats is never taken for granted. The Knights players donâ€™t ever get tired of going to the setting either.
â€śIt doesnâ€™t get old at all,â€ť Barrett said. â€śWeâ€™d love to play there every year for years to come.â€ť
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org