PRESS RELEASE – The Newport Gulls will kick off an expanded 44-game schedule this June, hosting 22 home games and the 2016 NECBL All-Star Game at Cardines Field throughout the summer.
The Gulls will play their home games on most Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights at Cardines, while road games will take them to one of 12 other ballparks around the league on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with few exceptions. The regular season runs from June 9 through August 1, followed by a two-week postseason.
The 2016 NECBL All-Star Game will be held on Sunday, July 17 at Cardines Field at 6:35 p.m. Thousands of fans and over 100 Major League Baseball scouts are expected to attend the league’s premier event, which Newport hosted previously in 2005 and 2010. The game will also feature the fan-favorite skills competition in the afternoon, including a home run derby and fastest dash by some of the top summer collegiate baseball athletes in the country.
“The All-Star Game is a very special event for the Newport Gulls and important for the league and our players,” said Gulls General Manager Chuck Paiva. “The scouts on hand will have an opportunity to watch the top talent in the NECBL, while the Gulls, Cardines Field, and the City of Newport will be in the spotlight.”
Tickets for the All-Star Game will be sold at the Cardines Field ticket office on game nights, and are just $5 for all ages. A rain date is set for Monday, July 18 in Newport, and more details about the 2016 All-Star Game and associated festivities will be released in the weeks ahead.
The Gulls will kick off their 2016 summer season on Thursday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. vs. the Ocean State Waves at Old Mountain Field in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The Flock will fly home to historic Cardines Field on Friday night, June 10, where the Mystic Schooners will be in Newport for Opening Night at 6:35.
Newport will board the team bus to New Bedford, Massachusetts on Saturday for a 6:30 game vs. the Bay Sox, and travel to Groton, Connecticut to face the Schooners at 6:05 on Sunday, their only scheduled Sunday game of 2016 besides the All-Star Game. The Gulls will play their second home game of the season versus the Waves on Monday, June 13, at 6:35, but will only be halfway through a stretch of 10-straight games that runs through a second road contest vs. the Waves on June 18.
The team will have completed half of its six-game, season-long Pell Bridge Series with their in-state rivals, the Waves, by the time that opening 10-game marathon is over, and over the course of the summer the Gulls will play a series of six games – three home, three away – against each of their Southern Division opponents, which also include the Schooners, Bay Sox, Danbury Westerners, and Plymouth Pilgrims.
The top four teams in the division will move on to the playoffs on Aug. 3, where the winner of three consecutive best-of-three series will take home the Fay Vincent Sr. Cup. The Gulls have made it to postseason play in each of the team’s 15 seasons in Newport to date, winning the championship a record six times. They were eliminated by the Schooners in the division finals in 2015, and won it all in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2012, and 2014.
The 2016 season brings several changes to the NECBL. The schedule has expanded from 42 to 44 games to accommodate a new 13th franchise, the Upper Valley Nighthawks, who will play at Byrne Field at the Maxfield Sports Complex in Hartford, Vermont. Additionally, the Laconia Muskrats have changed their name to the Winnipesaukee Muskrats. The two teams join the reigning-champion Vermont Mountaineers, Keene Swampbats, Sanford Mainers, Valley Blue Sox and North Adams SteepleCats to make up the seven-team Northern Division. The Gulls will play each Northern Division team twice, once at home and once on the road.
One small change is also coming to the Cardines Field Ticket Office in 2016. For the first time since moving to Newport in 2001, the Gulls are increasing prices for General Admission tickets, from $4 to $5. The change will only impact prices for adult tickets; prices will continue to be $2 for seniors, military and teens 13-18, and $1 for children 12 and under.
“We’ve managed to keep ticket prices the same for our fans for the last 15 seasons, even as our operating costs have increased,” said General Manager Chuck Paiva. “As a non-profit organization, this change will ensure we can continue to provide an affordable, family-friendly experience at Cardines Field.”
The complete 2016 season schedule and updated ticket information is available on the team’s website, http://www.newportgulls.com.
The Newport Gulls, members of the 13-team New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded as the Rhode Island Gulls in 1998 in Cranston, R.I., before moving to Newport in 2001. In addition to recruiting, fielding, and developing a team of the nation’s top collegiate baseball athletes and attracting 50,000 fans annually to Cardines Field, the predominantly volunteer organization strives to benefit the youth of Newport County via summer camps, reading programs, fundraisers, scholarships, and charitable donations – totaling nearly $1 million since 2001. The Gulls are six-time champions of the NECBL – the winningest franchise in league history – and were ranked as the overall No. 1 summer collegiate baseball team in the country by Perfect Game USA in 2012.
For more information about the Newport Gulls, visit facebook.com/newportgulls, follow the Gulls on Twitter @NewportGulls or visit http://www.newportgulls.com.