Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Bridgeport Bluefish & the Ballpark at Harbor Yards

The Bridgeport Bluefish are a professional baseball team in the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.  Though not affiliated with Major League Baseball, Atlantic League play is generally described as being about on par the AA’s of the Minor Leagues, and indeed, many Atlantic League players have Major League experience.  The Bluefish play home games at the Ballpark at Harbor Yards, a small stadium in downtown Bridgeport adjacent to both the Bridgeport train station and the Arena at Harbor Yards.
There's the pitch!
The Ballpark at Harbor Yards as seen from the beer garden.
Though I’ve not been to a ton of their games, I really enjoy watching the Bluefish.  The stadium is small, friendly, and convenient, and there’s not a bad seat in the house.  Plus, the team does an outstanding job of outreach to the local community.  I’s through these outreach programs that I usually find myself in the stadium.  We went to a game last year after the Bluefish gave tickets away to local schools to encourage student literacy—i.e. you got a free Bluefish ticket if you read a certain number of books during the semester, an achievement my kids have managed several times.  More recently, some friends got tickets through a program in which their kids sang “America the Beautiful” prior to first pitch—and that was on Superhero Night!  Just last week the Bluefish hosted Yoga Night, and now we’re considering a trip for Girl Scout night.
Bottom line, if you’re interested in something, chances are that the Bluefish have a night dedicated to its celebration.
Even without all the special offers, though, Bluefish tickets are hardly a major expense.  Good seats typically run in the $12 range, with specialty-themed six game packages available for $60.  My favorite of these is the “Fireworks Plan,” which gets you admission to all six games featuring fireworks plus a souvenir hat or bobble head, all for $10/game.  You do have to pay to park, but even that’s only going to run you between $6 and $10, depending on location.  Season tickets are also reasonable.  Those run between $400 and $500, depending on where you want to sit.  The Bluefish play a full professional slate of games from April to September, so for $500 you get a truly enormous amount of professional baseball.
B.B. & the superheroes sing YMCA on Superhero Night.
My buddy Colin at the Two Roads beer garden.
If tickets are cheap, however, concessions are expensive.  The Bluefish business model is clearly aiming to get butts in seats while generating revenue through secondary sales.  I don’t take issue with this, but it’s worth knowing before you head out.  The Ballpark hosts a fully-stocked Bluefish memorabilia store, a bevy of food kiosks, a fully functional beer garden, and a host of ancillary beer, ice cream, and knickknack stands scattered throughout the stadium.  In fact, if you’re a craft brew enthusiast, I think that a Bluefish game is really a must-see.  Not only do the Bluefish offer both Two Roads and Veracious beer in the stands, the beer garden itself is a Two Roads outlet complete with four taps and—naturally—a bouncing house to keep your kids occupied while you drink.
What more could you want?
Colin in front of the home bleachers and the Bluefish dugout.
Yes, that is a powerplant behind the stadium.  Also: Metro-North train tracks.
Me & Colin; obligatory selfie.
I should mention, too, that the Bluefish’s mascot B.B. is the single greatest sports mascot I’ve ever seen.  A bluefish of the kind native to the waters near Bridgeport, B.B. runs ceaselessly through the stadium, delighting my kids endlessly.  My kids literally love B.B.  They chase him nonstop and dance with him whenever they see him.  

They get excited every single time.  He is that entertaining.
The Bridgeport Bluefish
B.B. the Bluefish and the Ballpark at Harbor Yards.
Harbor Yards is located at 500 Main Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut, just off I-95 at exit 27.  Though I-95 can be a nightmare, traffic near the stadium is rarely a problem, and parking is pretty easy.  If you like baseball, and you’re anywhere nearby, the Bluefish are well worth a visit.

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