© Herald Press – January 2009
The summer baseball bill at Muzzy Field just got a little fuller as the Tri-State Baseball League has added a Bristol team as part of its continued expansion throughout Connecticut’s Northwest and into the Empire State. The Bristol Greeners are now the 17th team to call Tri-State League their summer baseball home. “The league has a rich history, dating back to the 1960’s when it began to flourish,” Bristol player/founder Shawn Mirmina said. “It’s considered one of, if not the best league for young adults in the state.” Many players around the league are current collegiate hardballers but also sports a handful of former professionals as well. The league currently has no age minimum or maximum, but team’s are restricted from acquiring players outside of its region as it’s allowed a max of only four “out-of-towners.”
Eighteen players are currently on the Greeners roster in which all are Bristol residents. With some teams around the league sporting players in their 30’s and 40’s, no current Greener is older than 22. But Mirmina, a Bristol Central graduate and current UConn student, isn’t worried about his group’s youthfulness or how it will handle its role as the league’s newcomer. “Our team is made up of guys who played together since Little League,” the 20-year-old said. “We all played high school ball together at Bristol Central or Bristol Eastern and many of the guys were part of the successful Legion teams that Bristol has put together the past few years. I like to think come spring, we’ll just be picking up where we left off, only in a new league against new teams.”
The hardest part – putting together a team – he added, is over. The rest is just playing baseball, and doing their best to add to the city’s already proud tradition on the Muzzy diamond. ” Bristol is a baseball town ,” Mirmina said. “It’s because of the competitiveness and success of the past teams and players that have come through this town that I am optimistic about the upcoming season and confident that this team will stick around for years to come.” Through the years, Torrington has been the league’s most successful team, taking home eight championships since it first took the field in 1991. Amenia also has eight titles to its resume, the last coming in 1990. The Monarchs disbanded in 1995, before returning 10 years later. Bethlehem has five championships to its credit. The goal of the Greeners is to put their name on that list as soon as possible.
“We are confident in the team we have put together and are hoping the Bristol community will come out and support us at Muzzy Field this spring,” added Mirmina. It was the support of at least one man from the community that helped make the team a reality thanks to a “generous donation.” It’s the same man the team has been named after – Dave Greenleaf. “The players felt this would be the best way to recognize him,” Mirmina said. “Plus, it’s a pretty catchy name.” The Tri-State league was born in 1934 (then called the Inter-State league), with teams from Connecticut , New York and Massachusetts . It officially became the Tri-State league in 1968. The league went exclusively to wooden bats in 2006.