WHITESTOWN – The Utica Blue Sox are back.
A new ownership group has purchased the Utica Brewers of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and is returning to their roots by going back to the Blue Sox name.
George Deak and his partner Jason Hall are the new owners of the team. Deak, president of Jug Sports, LLC, was joined by club advisor Peter Faughnan and general manager Butch Russo for Tuesday’s announcement at a press conference at Accelerate Sports Complex.
Deak is a West Winfield native, who fondly remembers the glory days of baseball at Murnane Field and hopes to bring it back to the area.
“My partner has been involved in baseball through Mets and Orioles organizations,” Deak said. “He called me one day and said lets buy a baseball team. We worked on it, and oddly enough. it was a team in our backyard.
“It’s a great community with great baseball fans and everything just fell into place. Going to the throwback name just seemed like the right thing to do. We are trying to get kids to the games and what better way than through nostalgia to get their parents involved. Because they remember the Blue Sox and have a history with them.”
New Blue Sox jerseys, local sponsors, information on family events and a new mascot were unveiled during the press conference. Deak and his group have also locked in three-year agreement to play at Murnane Field at Donovan Stadium.
Midyorksportsreport.com will stream all 25 of the Blue Sox home games. Ray Biggs will be the play-by-play announcer.
Butch Russo, who owned the team since 2008, is staying on as general manager and is excited for the future of the Blue Sox in Utica.
“It took me a while to find the right group,” Russo said. “I’ve been offering for someone to purchase the team for three years, but didn’t feel comfortable with any of those groups. I couldn’t bring it to the next level and when I met with George and the group they made me comfortable knowing this was the right group. They proved to me what they preached.”
Faughnan was the Brewers’ general manager the past three seasons and will stay on as the club’s advisor. He already sees what Deak and his group will bring to the area.
“The new group is going to bring it to a new level,” Faughnan said. “You’re going to see a lot new activity at the stadium. The public relations side is huge. They’ll bring that to a new level. It’s like taking an old house on a great lot and putting up a beautiful new house. It was always a great lot, the house just needed work.”
Mark Moriarty is the new manager of the Blue Sox. His assistant coaches are Xander Uxley, Michael Pepperine and former Blue Sox player Doug Delett. The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is a 13-team collegiate summer baseball league which started in 2011. All players are unpaid and must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate.
The Blue Sox will play a 49-game schedule beginning with their opener at the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dogs on June 2. Utica’s home opener is at 6:35 p.m. June 3 against the Elmira Pioneers. The first 500 fans will receive a Blue Sox magnet and there also will be a fireworks display for the opener.
Gates will open one hour prior to game time for all home games. A large concession with food, beer, wine and other snacks will be open at all home games. The regular season concludes in late July and playoffs are scheduled for early August.
Among other big promotional events scheduled for homes games is the KISS FM Carnival every Wednesday night from June 8 through July 13. There is free admission for all fans during those six Wednesday games. A bounce house, magicians and face painters will be on hand for kids for the events.
Others scheduled events include:
-July 6: Free baseball clinic for little leaguers. Sign-ups for event is on ocgov.net/youth
-July 17: The Believe 271 Night to help support local fire fighters with cancer and other illnesses.
For ticket and other information, please visit: https://www.uticabluesox.net/