WNPR

The Second First Season

Podcast

The Second First Season takes a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a Double-A baseball team on a year-long do-over. Jonathan McNicol tells the story of the Hartford Yard Goats' second season -- their first season in a new city, their first season in a new ballpark, and their first season playing home games.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Yard Goats manager Jerry Weinstein is a man of many little self-contradictory terms. Words like "simplexity." Or this one he has for a pitch that could be a strike or a ball: a... "striball."

And it's not just these seemingly nonsensical little chestnuts, either. There are deeper contradictions in the manager that is Jerry Weinstein.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Since I first started following Minor League Baseball, there's been this ongoing tension that I've felt at all the games.

On the one hand, you're pretty much surrounded by people who are living their dreams. On the other hand, kind of by definition, none of those people is really happy, is really satisfied where they are.

CPTV Sports

The Yard Goats' mascots were first unveiled to the world in October, 2015, as the last part of a string of branding reveals that included merchandise, logos, logotypes, and uniforms, and that had begun with a Name the Team contest.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

I think the reality is that on Hartford’s whole 25-man roster, there are probably maybe two, maybe three guys who will go on to have Major League careers of any length. Could be a couple more, but it could be a couple fewer too.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

This is episode three, and it's the first we're really talking about the actual team, the actual baseball, the actual wins and losses.

And I'll say this right at the beginning here:

The Yard Goats are... not good. So far, anyway.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

I want to get this spoiler out of the way right at the top here: Hartford has baseball, the Yard Goats have a ballpark, and the ballpark — after a 372-day delay — has a fully-functional baseball field where real, live, professional baseball games are actually played.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The plan is to tell the story of the Yard Goats' second season -- their first season in a new city, their first season in a new ballpark, their first season as a home team.