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Norwich Sea Unicorns clean out the closets for clearance sale of CT Tigers merchandise

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Norwich — Heather Bartlett is busy with spring cleaning, rummaging through closets and shelves, and removing old wall hangings to prepare for new ones.

But Bartlett’s task is quite different than the usual mundane household spring chores. As director of concessions and merchandise for the Norwich Sea Unicorns, she is cleaning out the storerooms, walls, clubhouse and skyboxes at the Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium of all things Connecticut Tigers and replacing them with the team’s new Sea Unicorns logo, lettering and colors.

Stripped of their affiliation with Major League Baseball and the minor leagues, the Sea Unicorns joined the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, a wooden bat summer league for college players throughout New England and beyond. The 2021 season begins on the road at the New Britain Bees on May 26 and the home opener is at 7 p.m. Memorial Day, May 31.

Bartlett is organizing a concourse clearance sale at Dodd Stadium, 14 Stott Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8. Everything from game-used professional baseball equipment, including helmets and even full sets of catching gear, former New York-Penn League baseballs and Tigers jerseys to fan memorabilia will be placed on racks and tables.

There are T-shirts of all sizes and even dog shirts from Bark in the Park days and scout uniform patches that were given to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who camped overnight on the field. A few softballs remain from a celebrity softball game a few years ago. Baseball card team packs, bobbleheads, bumper stickers, mini-bats and foam fingers. Some items from the nights when the team donned New England Lobster Rolls uniforms will be in the sale.

“You’d be amazed how much stuff that’s accumulated over 10 years,” Bartlett said, assessing a big cardboard box of Little League promotional hats, winter scarves and hats and Tigers mugs.

Several popular items have been selling well online at www.goseaunicorns.com, including autographed baseballs, team hats and bobbleheads. The biggest ticket item? The promotional George Costanza bobblehead dolls. Costanza was the fictional character on the TV sitcom “Seinfeld” who worked for New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Those bobbleheads can sell for as much as $175, Bartlett said.

“Certain players’ autographs are priced higher than others,” Bartlett said, including top Tigers 2019 draft pick Riley Greene.

Very little merchandise remains from the early Norwich Navigators or Connecticut Defenders minor league AA teams — a few stickers, posters and small items. Navigators fitted hats are still popular and will not be in the clearance sale, Bartlett said.

Sea Unicorns staff have been inspecting the stadium, from the skyboxes to the lower-level clubhouses for all things with Tigers logos, or even with just the Gothic C or D for Connecticut or Detroit Tigers. The pizza-sized round C and D from the front gates will be on the sale table, along with rectangular section number signs, the “Tigers Crossing” sign at the clubhouse and Dodd Stadium façade logos with the C and D.

“They’re much better being proudly displayed on someone’s wall than in our closets,” Sea Unicorns General Manager Dave Schermerhorn said.

Any leftovers after Saturday's sale will be put on sale at the Sea Unicorns opening night, May 31, Bartlett said.

c.bessette@theday.com

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