Mayor Joseph Ganim brought baseball to Bridgeport in his fourth term as mayor back in 1998 when the Bluefish opened play at Harbor Yard as an Atlantic League Independent Baseball team.
“My kids grew up there,” Ganim said. “My daughter actually had a birthday party and threw the first pitch out.”
As part of a redevelopment of both ends of Bridgeport’s Main Street area, the city confirmed this week that it has accepted a bid from a developer and concert promoter Live Nation to convert the baseball stadium into an amphitheater.
Ganim said details have not been finalized, but the conversion into what could be a 6,000-seat concert venue may take a capital investment of $15 million. The city is more focused on entertainment and urban development than baseball.
“On one end of Main Street,” Ganim said, “you’re seeing the amphitheater go in for new entertainment with Live Nation bringing in world class acts. On the other end, you’re seeing the renovations of a historic part of the city with the theaters and the new tallest buildings in the city of Bridgeport. Urban development, I think, at some of its best perspective.”
Frank Boulton is the owner of the Bluefish. He knew the writing was on the wall last March when the city requested bids, but he wanted to get to celebrate the Bluefish’s 20th anniversary.
“We’ve known that this possibly could happen,” Boulton said. “But at the same time, we answered the RFP, and we just didn’t win it. It’s the city of Bridgeport’s ballpark and they can do whatever they want to do. And they’ve chosen to go in a different direction.”
Boulton said the team is primed to announce a new home by September as cities in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas have shown interest in Atlantic League expansion.
“There’s no other city that has talked to us about Connecticut,” Boulton said. “So I would probably say at this point -- no.”
Boulton said that the move would only boost interest in the Atlantic League’s last Connecticut team, the Bees -- a team he helped move to New Britain as a minority owner.