The beginning of the 2016 Eastern League season is shaping up to be a difficult one for the Colorado Rockies' Double-A affiliate Hartford Yard Goats, with the team announcing in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that they will begin their inaugural season by spending more than a month on the road.
This news comes after stadium construction issues have significantly delayed the opening of the club's new home ballpark in downtown Hartford.
The Yard Goats' broadcaster and media liaison Jeff Dooley, who was recognized for his work earlier this morning, released a statement to the media confirming that the club's first 17 originally scheduled home games will now be played at the ballparks of their opponents.
That means, including already-scheduled road trips, the Yard Goats will play 34 consecutive road games to open up the 2016 season. Right now, they are scheduled to return to Hartford and officially open Dunkin' Donuts Park on Thursday, May 12 against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Per the Yard Goats' statement, though, the Eastern League will continue to monitor construction in Hartford and will soon make additional decisions on the club's schedule, presumably dependent upon ballpark progress over the next several months.
While this is bad for fans in Hartford who were hoping to see baseball in April, the Yard Goats are accommodating the public as best they can: season ticket holders will be able to attend any of these originally-scheduled home games on the road, complimentary of the ball club.
We'll see how this stands to affect the Rockies' player personnel decisions to begin the season, and whether it will change the big league club's plans for assigning prospects to various affiliates, now knowing the Double-A club won't be playing baseball in their home park for well over a month.
At the very least, it looks like the Yard Goats' Twitter account will have to get creative to pass a lot of time on long bus trips.