Eastern League (AA) — Aug. 20, 2016
What’s a Yard Goat without a yard? The new stadium near the Connecticut River in Hartford has beautiful lines and looks nearly completed: seats installed, a green field, lights, a sponsor and a name, but there will be no rounders played in Hartford this summer for the newest team in the Eastern League, the Yard Goats, who have made it a season on the road as their city fights with developers over the stadium’s construction delays and missed deadlines.
For 21 years, the Rock Cats of New Britain (oftimes known as the Hardware City Rock Cats) were a force in the Eastern League, until the team broke its Minnesota Twins affiliation and announced its plans to move across the tracks to Hartford.
Trouble came this summer when the City of Hartford pulled control of the stadium project from the developer, initiating a stream of complaints from both sides and pushing the Yard Goats into migration around the league.
The Yard Goats have been wandering from yard to yard, playing home games in opponent ballparks, and splitting other home games between the host cities of Norwich and Manchester, playing at Dodd Stadium where the old Connecticut Defenders used to play and at the home field of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Though enough major construction was completed to give Dunkin Donuts Stadium the look of a gleaming new ballpark, the stadium is incomplete and the City of Hartford halted work on the structure, claiming it has issued code violations against the company.
There is some talk the Yard Goats could wander away to a new city permanently if the stadium is not built by 2017, but a new firm with a history of designing ballparks, Pendulum Architects, has been brought on to finish the project.