This past weekend, I had the chance to visit Dunkin Donuts Park, the home of the Hartford Yard Goats. The Yard Goats are Colorado’s AA affiliate which formed in 2017, replacing the New Britain Rock Cats. The Yard Goats got their name via fan vote back in 2015 beating out the Hedgehogs, Praying Mantis, River Hogs, and Whirlybirds. Hartford has a history of sports teams, especially the Hartford Whalers which was an NHL team that moved to Carolina to become the Hurricanes in 1997.
The park itself was beautiful. I’ve been to my fair share of games, and it was on par with some of the Major League stadiums. Parking was easy too, right across the street and for $5, that’s not too bad. Our seats were in right field, and from the website, it looked like we were primed for a home run ball. Turns out, they had netting which you might see in some of the pictures. It didn’t make that much sense considering their first and third baseline were completely open. They also retired Roberto Clemente’s number last year, which as a Pirates fan was great to see. And yes, the stadium did have live goats.
The game went by relatively quick. The pitch clock is paid attention to, and there’s only two and a half minutes between innings. The game was well played by both teams, each making incredible defensive plays. Along with the fast paced moving, the Yard Goats have great mid inning action to keep the casual fans entertained. By the end of the night, the enormous scoreboard filled the night sky with relevant memes and funny short videos.
The Trenton Thunder were in town, and the game was well played by both teams, each making incredible defensive plays throughout. Both sides pitched The Yard Goats, led by their leadoff hitter Manuel Melendez (.660 OPS on the year) started the bottom of the third by hitting a sac fly to score Scott Burcham (.585). Melendez also hit a home run in the 6th to make the score 2-0. The Thunder joined the party in the 7th with as Rashad Crawford (.689) hit a single to score Hoy Jun Park (.764) to make it 2-1. Burcham hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th to make it 3-1 which was the final score. I felt bad for the Thunder, the pitching staff only gave up three hits throughout.
I will mention, exiting parking was terrifying. I urge you to wait until the parking lot is clear before you leave. There’s only one exit and roughly 5 rows wide of cars to exit that one spot. Overall, I had a great time. I tried to take as many photos as I could while being dragged through the park. You should get the waffle battered chicken when you go here. It’s the best food there bar none.