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October 8, 2008 October 8, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Bluefish Bailed Out By Boulton: The Connecticut Post is reporting that the team has been sold to league CEO Frank Boulton.

According to the article, Boulton “gave the team $250,000 in July to help meet payroll and get it through the rest of the 2008 season. A source close to the team said Boulton made the payment because “it would have been an embarrassment” for one of the league’s original teams to fold.”

Perhaps what’s truly embarassing about the whole thing is that Boulton also serves as the owner of the Long Island Ducks.

And their biggest rival, of course, is the Bridgeport Bluefish.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time that Boulton has stepped in to save a struggling Atlantic League franchise, as he did so with both Camden and Nashua.

While Camden still remains in the league, Nashua was eventually moved to the Can-Am League.

With talk of a franchise being started in Richmond, and NOBODY wanting the Road Warriors to return, could Bridgeport see a similar fate for 2009? – Mike Ashmore



1. jidyfan - October 8, 2008

Let’s see if Boulton can turn around that franchise which has desperately needed help for the last several years. It will be interesting to see if all those “Boulton hater” Bluefish fans get on board or jump ship.

2. b-fish fan - October 8, 2008

charlie dowd is laughing his ass off.

b-fish fan

3. jake - October 8, 2008

jidyfan I agree with your assessment. Mary Jane Foster is a truly classy lady but I for one would like to see the franchise survive. And as for Mr. Boulton he once again demonstrates his importance to this league and his fundamental understanding of the business of this league. There would not be an Atlantic League if not for Mr. Boulton. There always seems to be a predisposition on the part of some to criticize the man but you cannot argue with his success or with his accomplishments. I do not expect Bluefish fans to jump off in large numbers either. If we have learned anything from watching Mr. Boulton it’s that he knows the formula for success and that he never does anything half-a–. He will put a good product out and the franchise will be strong. Take it to the bank. I can’t say who will own the bank on any given day but you can bet on the rest of it.

4. b-fish fan - October 8, 2008

mary jane foster might be a classy lady,but she destroyed the bluefish organization and killed the fan base.lets stop this boulton will turn around the bluefish talk.the people here dont care who owns the team.75% of the fans in the stadium couldnt name 5 players on the team.this is not L.I or somerset people go to the game on convience not to root for the bluefish.

5. jidyfan - October 8, 2008

I would say that this is the last chance for the Bluefish and their fans. If Boulton can’t turn the organization around then the Bluefish will be out of Bridgeport.

6. jake - October 9, 2008

b-fish fan you absolutely do not know what you are talking about. Why would you attack a woman and individual who gave her life to keeping baseball in Bridgeport. What is your agenda.
Mary Jane Foster is a great lady who worked aggressively over the years to preserve and grow the bluefish franchise. She did so without the support of the state or the city of Bridgeport which have been in turmoil for years. Do you even know what she was up against. Remember the old saying that 95 isn’t the road but the speed you should drive through Bridgeport. She was burdoned with mayors who were themselves embroiled in scandal and paid no attention to this worthwhile part of the community. The city has never done anything to build its own image or promote its own baseball club.

And don’t give me the garbage about Somerset. It’s very far from perfect. Very far. Alot of smike and mirrors and yes empty seats as well. My brother and I have gone there for years and I wish the staff and management there had one ounce of the class that Mary Jane Foster has–they do not.
And speak for yourself about the bluefish players. Some really terrific people have played there from DJ Boston to Norm Hutchins, Edguardo Alfonso, John Nathan, Jessie Horelbeck, and many others.

jidyfan is correct though that if Frank Boulton cannot turn it around no one will. I hope the people of Bridgeport and the surrounding communities will wake up and realize what they have before they lose it.

So long Mary Jane and God Bless!

7. Lonf Island Duck - October 10, 2008

Mike, it’s interesting that you say that it an embarrasment that Frank Boulton bailed out the Fish. Firstly, he understands the value of a team rivalry, which in this case, is very strong. Secondly, he had no choice. Losing a charter team would be a black eye for the league. But lets get to the bottom of this. Isn’t Mary jane Foster one of the potential owners of the Yonkers franchise? And if she is, how will she come up with the money for that team. When your hero Steve Kalafer, bought the Newark Bears, it was amazing how tiny the Bears budget was. There is something seriously wrong with the ownership in this league. There needs to be individual ownership only, otherwise the Road Warriors will be around when people are flying around in jet packs!

8. Long Island Duck - October 10, 2008

It’s LONG Island Duck. Sorry about that!

9. Mike - October 10, 2008

My hero, Steve Kalafer. Yup, you got me. I actually play that Enrique Iglesias song every time he walks into the room. Then I put my Heroes DVD’s on and we watch.

Yup, that all really happens. Sure it does. Sure thing.

You really think that if the Red Sox had to bail out the Yankees, that the Yankees wouldn’t be the laughingstock of baseball? That’s the point I was trying to make…how is this different than that would be?

10. b-fish fan - October 10, 2008

jake are you that clueless?nobody cares about her problems with the mayor or the city.i go to watch the games and the team stunk.why did it stink?because every baseball move they made was wrong.from firing dowd to hiring larsen.then having to fire larsen over racist comments months later.how about firing dave lapoint then bring in the most inept mgr.i have ever seen in tommy john.the list of her baseball failures goes on.i repeat she might be a nice lady but as far as the bluefish go.she was a total disaster.
b-fish fan

11. jake - October 10, 2008

First-I agree with the Long Island Ducks fan. I do not believe that it is ever embarrassing to support a colleague or to practice sound business philosophy. To an extent this league is a cooperative and the mid-season collapse of any franchise would have had an adverse and damaging impact on the entire league and each of its franchises. Perception is a key element of any business. I also believe that there should be individual owners but that may be asking too much in current economic times. It concerns me more the impact that it has on the players.
As for the somerset owner lets leave the car salesman out of it for now–it ruins our lunch. Mike I just think you phrased it badly. The greater embarrassment would have been to allow the collapse. The hero comment is unfair. We may not always agree with what is presented here but it is an open forum and they do a bang-up job.

b-fish fan where do we start. The beauty of baseball is the democracy of it all. I like the first baseman, I hate the shortstop. This pitcher is great that other one is a bum. It’s classic, its pure. But still not a reason to attack a good woman and individual who gave of herself to the people of Bridgeport more so than any of their elected leadership has in decades. And you cannot dismiss the absence of support that Ms. Foster had from city and state officials. They love throwing out first pitches near election day but are invisible the rest of the time.
And try getting your facts straight-as I stated before you really are just shooting from the hip without foundation.

1. Charlie Dowd is/was/and will always be a wonderful man and strong baseball man. Sometimes decisions are tough. Owbnership thought they needed a change in leadersship. Charlie has done very well for himself in Connecticut.

2. Mr. Larsen’s issues could not be predicted. And his seperation was swift and appropriate.

3. Dave LaPoint was not fired by the Bluefish at all. The club would not meet his contract demands and he went where they would. Plain and simple. Ask him when you see him.

4. Tommy John is in no way inept. He is a smart baseball man and a crowd pleaser. The Bluefish were competitive in each of the last two years and have shown improvement. He is wonderful with the fans and gives back to them unlike that dinosaur we have in somerset who only passes on second hand smoke.

Baseball is a game of successes and failures. I am sure Mary Jane Foster would be the first to say that some decisions worked and some didn’t. Your attack is harsh and really based on a personal dislike and not the facts. You want to grade her poorly than do so–that’s the democracy of baseball–but get the facts right.

And one final thought-before this league talks about further expansion to Richmond or Yonkers or Bergen County why don’t they figure out how to pay ballplayers a wage that they can survive on. That is the true embarrassment and scandal to be in this league.

12. jidyfan - October 10, 2008

I agree that the need for increased wages is probably the biggest thing that the league must work on for the upcoming season. You could easily see that the quality of the players in the league this year had decreased from the previous years and the amount of players leaving for other leagues where they pay more money had increased. Contributing to that is the fact that the players receive no added bonus money for advancing to the playoffs, so why should they want to come here. That’s why you saw the influx of new players at the end of the year from the other leagues that had finished their seasons. The teams were not happy with the quality of the players they had on hand and reached out for help to get them into the playoffs. The teams advanced and made more money in the playoffs and the players got no additional bonus for it.

13. vivianna76 - October 10, 2008

I’m happy about the change as long as there’s nothing shady going on in the background (like possible move). I’ve always been envious of the fan following the ducks created…the fish were the winningest team in the league for a while and we couldn’t fill the place the way they did. Hopefully Boulton can bring whatever was missing to the table.


MJ Foster, yeah she may have loved the game and was dedicated, but she was horrible at it. She was no where near getting the job done. And it started with getting rid of LaPoint, they didn’t get a championship but he did a damn good job with that team in 06. Tommy John has been garbage. Guys got no umph.

I guess at this point I should just be happy the team still exists.

14. Jeff - October 10, 2008

Tommy John is in no way inept. He is a smart baseball man and a crowd pleaser. The Bluefish were competitive in each of the last two years and have shown improvement. **** He is wonderful with the fans and gives back to them unlike that dinosaur we have in somerset who only passes on second hand smoke.

I have to say laughted when I read the last line of Jake’s post

15. jake - October 10, 2008

Vivianna I support your thoughts in part. The Ducks have done very well in bringing in fans but you must consider the area where the teams play and the economics involved. I also hope that the Bluefish stay in Bridgeport. And yes they have been very competitive at times. And there was a time when the seats were filled to a greater extent.
I don’t think its fair to say that Mary Jane Foster was horrible at it. One has to wonder how she would have done under the circumstances that Mr. Boulton has in Long Island with community and government support. The fact that she didn’t have the support from the city and state is a major contributor. The economy in Bridgeport has been horrific for such a very long time. And where the economies of nearby communities has been better, people have been put-off from coming into Bridgeport by the perceptions of the city. Fair or otherwise.
Again I do not think Tommy John is garbage or lacking in fire. He clearly knows baseball and his players like playing for him. And again, the Bluefish did not get rid of Dave LaPoint he left of his own accord to pursue more money. Just ask him he talks openly about it. And without bashing the man–he is a real character and very likeable, but Mr. LaPoint has not won anything in the Atlantic League. Just weeks ago he took the hottest team in the league into the first round of the playoffs against Camden, a team this very page argued would be swept out in two games. And Mr. LaPoint’s team was swept out. I for one just hope that the Bluefish can turn it around and have a long and successful life in Bridgeport.

jidyfan I am beginning to sound like a broken record but as usual you are dead on in your comments. The gap between the wealth being made by some owners versus the salaries being paid to ballplayers is in my opinion disgusting. It is immoral and just plain wrong. And as others have written here in recent weeks and in recent years its time that this was addressed.

I do not speak without knowledge either. My wife and I and my brother and his wife have befriended some players in the past. We have had players and their families to our homes for BBQ’s or pool parties, and we have provided housing to families who were visiting. We have seen and heard firsthand of the hardship these people face. At best they get a couple of thousand dollars or so per month, they have to pay housing and some fees. And they have numerous costs involved that are not covered even in part by the team they play for. As one former Patriots player told my wife and I last year-the popcorn lady and the person selling merchandise make more than the player.
We understand that no one forces these men to play in the league but that does not justify the salaries being paid over the money being made. It’s exploitation and its ugly. It reminds us of the circus barons or the early baseball owners of the 19th and early 20th century. These are human beings and professional athletes and they should be treated with respect.
My own wife and my sister in law have stopped going to games with my brother and I for this very reason. As they have built up relationships with players wives and families-relationships which have continued through the years, they have been unwilling to support a baseball league that does not support its core–the players.

I must admit on my part and my brother Frank said it more and first– that at times I have been embarrassed not to follow suit with our spouses.
This is more than just baseball it is life and it is business. It is hard to overlook that without the players there is no league and know that they are not compensated fairly.

16. b-fish fan - October 10, 2008

jake i know the facts.how many winning seasons did the bluefish have before she got there?now how many winning seasons did they have while she was in charge?case closed.she was a know it all and meddling owner who tried to bully dowd and lapoint and made a joke of the bluefish.her ownership group bailing out as if they were on fire tells you all you need to know about her baseball mgmt skills.i have been a 10 year ticket holder and the last 3 years have been an embarassment to every bluefish fan.

b-fish fan

17. jake - October 10, 2008

b-fishy fan while commonsense tells me I should just ignore your last comments I cannot. Though I must tell you that the harsh nature of your comments really makes everyone else’ points and defeats your own.

But let me start by saying that I respect your right to your opinion even if I disagree with what you say. You come across to me as a very frustrated bluefish fan, understandably tired of losing. And any baseball lover can understand that.

But again I think you are misguided in your attacks. First, the woman, Mary Jane Foster, owned the team twice and fought to keep a franchise in Bridgeport. I don’t know how you find it appropriate to refer to her as meddling or as a bully.

Charlie Dowd and Dave LaPoint were employees of a business called the Bridgeport Bluefish owned and operated by Mary Jane Foster and her group. You seem to confuse management with meddling or bullying. Additionally, as I stated earlier, Dave LaPoint left of his own accord, choosing to accept an offer with the Ducks, where he had previously coached, because they would and could meet his financial demands. Whether I agree with the departure of Charlie Dowd or not–and by the way I didn’t–it was her decision to make and she made it.

You have overlooked throughout your commentaries that the bluefish are an inner city team in a small market. The burdens of the city they have played in–its own economic and social issues–have precluded the organization from competing with the big boys in Long Island and Somerset.

The inability to fill the seats consistently–which I genuinely believe is in large part a product of the local economy and false perceptions of the area–have reduced the financial flexibility of the organization. Check out the issues that the adjoining arena and other franchises at Harbor Yard are having.

Unlike Mr. Boulton in Long Island or “Joe Izuzu” in Somerset, Ms. Foster has been unable to buy late season replacements or load up the lineup with marquee former major leaguers.

You clearly love your bluefish and I respect that more than anything. But don’t lay all of the blame at her feet there is just so much more to it. And my brother and I and our Uncle from Shelton have attended a number of games at Bridgeport the last 3 years and we saw no reason for embarrassment. The players played hard, and we enjoyed the company of good baseball fans like yourself.

I hope that you get a winning season soon and even a championship. The irony in all of this is that you are frustrated with losing and dislike management. In somerset we win and the management stinks.

We wish you well.

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