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Atlantic League ponders New Britain team

Atlantic LeagueThe independent Atlantic League is looking at putting a team in New Britain next season after the Rock Cats depart for Hartford, with Frank Boulton leading the effort.

Of course, the Rock Cats aren’t going very far — just 11 miles up the road to a new downtown ballpark — but the loss of the team has stung local officials, who are working to bring in a new team. Enter Boulton, the Atlantic League founder and current owner of the league’s Bridgeport Bluefish. He was on hand in New Britain this week to check out the ballpark and meet with local business leaders about their support. While he didn’t make any commitments, city officials are optimistic and say they’ll commit hundreds of thousands of dollars in ballpark improvements. From the Bristol Press:

Boulton, who has been in talks with Stewart for six months, said “we will know where we are headed in the next 45 days, as whether there will be a team in New Britain.”

Boulton — who has visited the city and the stadium several times since early this year — said he has enough information on the prospects of bringing a team to the city and will now “bring my findings to the league.”

Boulton declined to say what those finding are, but said, “I feel everything is moving forward. If the findings are positive, I will ask the league for a conditional approval of bringing a team here and playing here in 2016. It’s all a work in progress.”

It’s been a relatively quiet period recently for the Atlantic League, with turnover in many ownership suites in the past year. How the 2016 lineup would play out if New Britain were added is an interesting question: There doesn’t seem to be much happening on the Texas expansion front, but there are a few markets — like Atlantic City — that have been discussed as hosting Atlantic League baseball.

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