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    Sunday, March 03, 2024

    Sea Unicorns will host Futures League All-Star Game in 2024

    Norwich Sea Unicorns General Manager Lee Walter accepts a proclamation from Mayor Peter Nystrom during a Norwich City Council Meeting on Monday Aug. 21, 2023. The team recently won the Futures League Championship making it the first title for the team. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Norwich — Coming off a banner season in which it won the league championship, the Norwich Sea Unicorns announced Tuesday that Dodd Stadium will host the Futures League All-Star game and related events on July 22 and 23, 2024.

    This will mark the first All-Star Game hosted at Dodd since 2013, when the team was the Connecticut Tigers, the minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers playing in the New York-Penn League.

    “Coming off of the 2023 Futures League Championship and celebrating the 30th season of baseball at Dodd Stadium in 2024, the All-Star Experience is a great addition to what we expect to be the best season of Sea Unicorns baseball yet,” Sea Unicorns General Manager Lee Walter Jr. said in the news release.

    Walter said Tuesday that planning is only in the preliminary stages. The team already had planned a season-long stadium 30th anniversary celebration, and Walter said the all-star game will add to the excitement.

    With the early announcement, Walter hopes to gear up by reaching out to businesses and civic groups in the Norwich area for event sponsorships and for ideas for expanded events. The advanced notice also will help the other seven teams in the Futures League to make plans to come to Norwich for the celebration.

    After the Norwich team lost its minor league affiliation with a nationwide contraction of the minor league system, the Sea Unicorns shifted into a summer collegiate team that features players from colleges throughout the Northeast and elsewhere.

    “Dodd Stadium is the perfect fit for our 2024 Futures League festivities,” said Futures League Commissioner Joe Paolucci in the news release. “The fans of Norwich will have an opportunity to see the best of the best that our league has to offer and we are all excited to see what the 2023 Organization of the Year has in store for us. It is going to be a great event that will help to continue to grow our league.”

    Further details on the festivities will be announced in the coming months, including ticket sales, the home run derby and other all-star events, on the Sea Unicorns website at goseaunicorns.com, and on the Futures League website.

    Walter said he hopes to continue the Sea Unicorns’ success in Norwich. He took over as general manager as the team was recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the switch to summer collegiate baseball.

    Despite the rainy summer of 2023, the team saw a boost in total attendance by 9,000 fans to a total of 52,739. The team won the league championship and was named organization of the year by the Futures League.

    Mayor Peter Nystrom congratulated the team on landing the all-star festivities in 2024, the year when team leaders and city officials will be in negotiations on a possible lease extension. The lease ends at the end of 2024, with an option for 2025 if both parties agree.

    “It’s in keeping with the success of last season,” Nystrom said of the all-star game announcement. “They won the whole thing this year. They had the rookie of the year and the coach of the year.”

    c.bessette@theday.com

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