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August 23, 2012 / Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce

Chamber takes leadership role in bringing Eastern League All-Star event to New Britain next summer

NEW BRITAIN — The New Britain Rock Cats routinely put future major-leaguers on the field. Next July they will likely host a whole lot more.

The Rock Cats and New Britain Stadium will host the 2013 Eastern League All-Star game July 10. The game, which will bring the league’s best players as voted on by the fans, EL managers and media to New Britain, will be part of a two-day All-Star festival that will include other events in the community starting July 9.

Bringing the game back to New Britain was one of new Rock Cats owner Josh Solomon’s goals when he took over the team this winter, and he can now scratch that off his list. “One of the things we had said when we initially bought the team was we really want to bring the best of minor league baseball to New Britain,” Solomon said. “We had been lobbying pretty hard from day one to do it and we are thrilled that we are going to get the opportunity to provide it to the fans. The entire organization is very excited to both show off our ballpark but also to be able to highlight all the All-Stars of the Eastern League.”

The game and surrounding events will bring visitors and exposure to the city, something community leaders are already looking forward to.

“This is an exciting win for the New Britain community,” Mayor Timothy O’Brien said in a statement. “I am proud that our team, city and business community were able to pull this together and get this done.”

New Britain last hosted the game in 2003. That game featured future big-leaguers Kevin Youkilis and Grady Sizemore, among others. New Britain’s Terry Tiffee, who still plays with the Gwinnett Braves of the International League, sent the packed hometown crowd happy that day with a walk-off hit in the last of the ninth.

“The Eastern League is very excited to be bringing our premier event back to New Britain after the city previously served as an outstanding host of the event in 2003,” Eastern League President Joseph McEacharn said in a statement.

“The event will be returning to New Britain next season thanks in large part to the efforts of their new ownership group, led by Josh Solomon, to deliver this event for their fans. We are looking forward to showcasing the major league stars of tomorrow to the outstanding fans of the New Britain Rock Cats, and are equally pleased to highlight Connecticut and the city of New Britain to the entire Eastern League.”

Bill Millerick, president of the New Britain Chamber of Commerce, said his office would be responsible for putting together sponsorship packages highlighting the All-star game with city businesses.

“We think it’s a great event for the city,” he said. “All-Star games are always terrific events. They bring a lot of people in the city and there is a lot of focus on the city. The Rock Cats are extraordinary family entertainment and they have been for decades. At an all-star gamer, fans can see a lot of talent from a lot of teams. Many of those players will be stars in the major leagues.”

— Staff writers Robert Storace and Carl Josephson contributed to this story

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