Hartford Yard Goats

The Hartford Yard Goats are a Minor League Baseball team based in Hartford, Connecticut. The Yard Goats, which play in the Eastern League, are the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The team was founded in 2016 when the New Britain Rock Cats relocated to Hartford. The Yard Goats' home stadium is Dunkin' Donuts Park.

Hartford Yard Goats
Minor league affiliations
ClassDouble-A (1983–present)
LeagueEastern League (2022–present)
DivisionNortheast Division
Previous leagues
  • Double-A Northeast (2021)
  • Eastern League (1983–2020)
Major league affiliations
TeamColorado Rockies (2015–present)
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles (5)
  • 1975
  • 1978
  • 1981
  • 1983
  • 2001 (Co-Champion)
Division titles (2)
  • 1998
  • 2001
Team data
NameHartford Yard Goats
Previous names
  • New Britain Rock Cats (1997–2015)
  • Hardware City Rock Cats (1995–1996)
  • New Britain Red Sox (1983–1994)
  • Bristol Red Sox (1973–1982)
  • Pawtucket Red Sox (1970–1972)
  • Pittsfield Red Sox (1965–1969)
  • Reading Red Sox (1935–1968)
ColorsRoyal blue, kelly green, tan, white[1][2]
       
MascotChompers and Chew Chew
BallparkDunkin' Donuts Park (2017–present)
Previous parks
  • Senator Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium (2016)
  • New Britain Stadium (1996–2015)
  • Beehive Field (1983–1995)
  • Muzzy Field (1973–1982)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Josh Solomon
General managerMike Abramson
ManagerChris Denorfia

History

The franchise's timeline can be traced back to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where they were a Boston Red Sox Double-A affiliate from 1965 to 1969. The franchise then moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in 1970, where they spent three years. The Pawtucket Red Sox became a Triple-A team in 1973, and the Red Sox moved their Double-A franchise to Bristol, Connecticut. Known as the Bristol Red Sox, the team played at Muzzy Field for ten seasons from 1973 to 1982. Starting with the 1983 season, the team was moved 7 miles (11 km) east to New Britain, Connecticut. Then known as the New Britain Red Sox, the team played its home games at Beehive Field, which stood next to New Britain Stadium. Renamed the Rock Cats in 1997, the team remained in New Britain through the 2015 season. In 2016, the team moved to Hartford and became the Yard Goats.[1]

The Yard Goats were unable to play any games in Hartford in 2016 due to construction delays at Dunkin' Donuts Park, and instead played all of their home games on the road.[3] These delays resulted in a lawsuit between the city of Hartford and Centerplan, the park's developer. Both sides later agreed to mediation.[4] After the city called an insurance bond with Arch Insurance, the firm replaced Centerplan with Whiting-Turner which resumed construction in October 2016.[5] The new developer completed the ballpark for the team's 2017 home opener on April 13, which they lost to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 7-2.[6]

The nickname "Yard Goats" was selected as part of a "Name the Team" contest which drew over 6,000 submissions. "Yard goats" is rail-yard slang for the switch engines or terminal tractors that shuttle train cars between different locomotives. The stadium is adjacent to Hartford Yard. The logo features a goat chomping on a baseball bat and the team makes heavy use of animal imagery and symbolism.[7] The blue and green colors are a nod to the Hartford Whalers team that played in the National Hockey League from 1979 to 1997.[8] The team stages an annual Whalers Reunion weekend, with special uniforms resembling the hockey club's and the logo has the goat chomping a hockey stick. The logo font replicates that used by the former New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad.[1]

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the Yard Goats were organized into the Double-A Northeast.[9] In 2022, the Double-A Northeast became known as the Eastern League, the name historically used by the regional circuit prior to the 2021 reorganization.[10]

Mascots

The team has two mascots, a green male goat named Chompers and a blue female goat named Chew Chew. The names were selected as part of a "Name the Mascot" contest. Chew Chew's name is designed to reflect both the railroad meaning of the nickname (as in choo choo train) and the goat logo, which is chewing on a baseball bat.[11]

On April 21, 2016, Hartford Police reported that an individual had tackled Chompers outside the Connecticut Science Center after an event there. The man inside the costume, who was not named, was uninjured. Police are unsure whether it was an intentional assault or a prank that went too far.[12]

Broadcasts

Hartford Yard Goats games are heard on AM 1410 WPOP in English and were formerly heard on AM 1120 WPRX in Spanish. The Public Address Announcer is Jared Doyon.[13]

Season records

(Place indicates finish in Eastern/Northeast Division)

  • 2016: 74-67 (3rd), manager Darin Everson
  • 2017: 62-77 (5th), manager Jerry Weinstein
  • 2018: 65-71 (3rd), manager Warren Schaeffer
  • 2019: 73-66 (3rd), manager Warren Schaeffer
  • 2020: Season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2021: 39-79 (6th), manager Chris Denorfia
  • 2022: 77-60 (2nd), manager Chris Denorfia

Roster

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 31 Michael Baird
  • 35 Jared Biddy
  • 23 Nick Bush
  • 19 Dugan Darnell
  • 51 Fineas Del Bonta-Smith
  • 46 Will Ethridge
  • -- Trent Fennell
  • 45 Blake Goldsberry
  • 54 Noah Gotsis
  • 14 Boby Johnson
  • 39 Stephen Jones
  • 24 Mitchell Kilkenny
  • 40 Austin Kitchen
  • 32 Tony Locey
  • 25 Mike Ruff
  • -- Dylan Spain
  • 55 Case Williams

Catchers

  • 12 Daniel Cope
  • 16 Hunter Goodman

Infielders

  •  5 Jack Blomgren
  •  4 Isaac Collins
  •  2 Kyle Datres
  • 33 Grant Lavigne
  • 22 Aaron Schunk
  •  0 Hunter Stovall

Outfielders

  • 18 Niko Decolati
  • 93 Casey Golden
  • 67 Jameson Hannah
  • 10 Daniel Montano
  • 15 Zac Veen


Manager

  • 13 Chris Denorfia

Coaches

  •  1 Luis Lopez
  • 36 Blaine Beatty (pitching)
  • 23 Tom Sutaris (hitting)


7-day injured list
* On Colorado Rockies 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated November 18, 2022
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB  Eastern League
→ Colorado Rockies minor league players

References

  1. "In Training: The Story Behind the Hartford Yard Goats". sportslogos.net. May 28, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  2. "Hartford Yard Goats Release Logo and Colors". YardGoatsBaseball.com. MLB Advanced Media. July 8, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2019. Royal Blue and Kelly Green make up the club's new official colors, paying tribute to Hartford's rich sports history.
  3. "Courant Community". www.courant.com. Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  4. "Dunkin Donuts Park Architect Back On The Job". www.courant.com. Hartford Courant. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  5. Spedden, Zach (December 21, 2016). "Dunkin' Donuts Park Aims for April 13 Debut". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  6. Hartford Yard Goats (April 13, 2017). "Cats Walk All Over Yard Goats in Park Opener". MILB.com. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  7. Doyle, Paul (March 18, 2015). "What's a Yard Goat? It's a baseball team coming to Hartford". Hartford Courant.
  8. Doyle, Paul (July 8, 2015). "Hartford Yard Goats Unveil Logo, Pay Tribute To Whalers With Colors". Hartford Courant.
  9. Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  10. "Historical League Names to Return in 2022". Minor League Baseball. March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  11. Polansky, Rob; Dixon, Mark (October 30, 2015). "'Chew Chew' and 'Chompers' unveiled as Yard Goats mascots". WFSB-TV.
  12. "Hartford Police Investigating Incident Involving Yard Goats Mascot". NBC Connecticut. April 21, 2016.
  13. "Finding an escape from Tourette syndrome behind the microphone". courant.com. March 2, 2020.
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