Monday, July 11, 2016

Waterbury American Legion to reopen Municipal Stadium on Wednesday night

There have been many bumps in the road in the renovation of Waterbury's Municipal Stadium.
From the grandstands to the sod of the field, there have been issues that have kept city teams from playing at Municipal, which originally opened in 1930.
Those issues are due to become a moot point on Wednesday night.
Waterbury's Municipal Stadium reopens Wednesday night with
Waterbury American Legion's doubleheader against Monroe.
The Waterbury American Legion senior baseball team rechristens the old ballpark on Watertown Avenue with a doubleheader against Monroe. The first game is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.
Waterbury Legion head coach Frank Melillo is excited about the opportunity.
"It's an honor to be selected as the first team to play there," Melillo wrote in an email.
On Monday morning, workers were busy getting the sod on the field just right. There were others who were testing the sound system. The new bleachers, blue instead of the old red, look great, and so does the scoreboard in left center field, just beyond the 382-foot mark.
The Municipal Stadium scoreboard in left center field.
Funding for renovations was first approved in 2005, according to State Rep. Jeffrey J. Berger's website. Berger serves Waterbury, which is the 73rd Assembly District. 
There have been several phases to the project. The first brought turf to Ray Snyder Sr. Memorial Field next door, where football, soccer and softball are played. The second phase brought work on the grandstands and the diamond. Phase III was work on grandstand lighting and the scoreboard.
Work on the fourth phase of the project includes the south parking lot, which is currently unfinished.
Waterbury Legion has been having a banner season under Melillo. Post 1 has an overall record of 23-2-1, including a solid 18-1 mark in Zone 5. Waterbury is getting closer to clinching the top spot in Zone 5.
"The history of the stadium, with all the great players that have gone through there, MLB stars," Melillo wrote. "The history is rich. The stadium looks great, they did a great job, and we can't wait to add to the history and tradition."
The new bleachers on the first base side of the stadium look great.
There will be plenty more games after Wednesday's double dip, but Melillo has a special feeling about his team's contests.
"We are one of the only true Waterbury teams on all older levels," Melillo said.
Melillo said his team's players have at least one parent that lives in the city.
There's a busy summer ahead for Municipal Stadium after Legion opens it Wednesday night. There is the Mickey Mantle World Series, the Sandy Koufax World Series, and the Stan Musial World Series.
Many will get to experience the beauty of the renovated park this summer, including a bushel of the city's residents. Legion just happens to be the first. 
Here's to a busy and fun summer of baseball at Municipal Stadium.

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