In a press release Friday morning the Eastern League officially announced the remaining schedule for the Hartford Yard Goats. In what should come as no surprise, all the team’s remaining home games will be played outside the state of Connecticut as they await the completion of the new city-owned Dunkin Donuts Park. These “home” games will be played in the opponents’ home venues, with the exeption of two series that will be played in Manchester, NH, home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
General Manager Tim Restall told the Hartford Courant, “While we are extremely disappointed that we will not have baseball in Hartford this season, we will continue to work with the city to bring Yard Goats fans and sponsors the best minor league ballpark in America."
It was announced in January that the Yard Goats would spend the first two months of the season playing on the road while construction continued on their new home near downtown Hartford, Dunkin Donuts Park. When developers missed the “substantial completion” deadline on May 17, the long awaited home opener was further postponed. Then last month, amid further delays, the City of Hartford decided to pull the developer off the project and suspend construction while the insurance company investigated whether a breach of contract occurred.
Meanwhile, the team has been forced to sit out the dispute while city leaders and developers go to court over the completion of their stadium, leaving players and fans alike wondering when the first true home game will be played. Friday’s announcement confirmed these doubts as Hartford will now have to wait until April 2017 to welcome the Yard Goats to the city.
Despite the controversy, the Yard Goats have performed well this season, compiling a 54-42 record. Unfortunately they find themselves 11 games behind division leading Reading Fightin Phils and five games back of the Trenton Thunder for the final playoff spot in the Eastern League East Division.