The Yard Goats held an event today in downtown Hartford for season ticket holders. Team owner Josh Solomon was present for the second annual hot stove luncheon.
“Obviously, last year was such a terrible disappointment, but I think  is going to be a tremendous success,” said Solomon. “We are not building the ballpark, so we are doing what we normally do to prepare for the season.”
Completing promotional schedules and coordinating stadium food service are the kind of things that team is doing to prepare for the upcoming season. They are relying on the city of Hartford to finish building the stadium on time so the Yard Goats can open their season at home as scheduled on April 13.
Arch Insurance is the company overseeing the project’s completion. The former developers, Centerplan and DoNo Hartford, were removed from the project this past fall.
As WNPR’s Ray Hardman reported in December, while Arch Insurance said a delay could occur, the stadium was “fully winterized” and any inclement weather should not push back opening day.
The 2016 Yard Goats spent the entire baseball season on the road. They did play some games in Connecticut, but away from Hartford, when they called Dodd Stadium home during the summer.
Berlin native Matt Carasiti pitched on that team.
“As a person from Connecticut myself, I was so excited and I’m still excited this year for the guys that will be there,” said Carasiti. “I could be in Hartford at some point so if that happens, it would be awesome to call that my home stadium.”
Carasiti, a 2016 Eastern League All-Star for the Yard Goats, was promoted to Hartford’s MLB-affiliate Colorado in August. He struggled to catch on in 15 and 2/3 innings pitched as his earned run average rose above 9 by the season’s end. Carasiti does not expect to pitch in Hartford again this year as he is likely to go back to the majors or move to Colorado's AAA team in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“My approach obviously is to go to camp, pitch really well, and make the big league team,” said Carasiti. “Obviously, that should be everyone’s approach.”
New manager Jerry Weinstein was formally introduced to the media at Thursday’s event. Weinstein replaces Darin Everson, who managed the team for the past two seasons.
“That’s not part of my job description,” said Weinstein when asked if the team would play as scheduled in Hartford. “How can you not want to play a game in that stadium? I think it’s an easy sell.”
The University of Hartford and UConn are expected to play a game at the site sometime in early April — a game that was supposed to be played on April 5 in Storrs. The Yard Goats plan to use that game as a dress rehearsal for opening day.