baseball

There have been 18 deaths so far this year in the city of Hartford. There were 19 in all of last year, and how to best keep the city safe is a big priority for Mayor Pedro Segarra.

But one of Segarra's chief political challengers is pointing to the baseball stadium the city is building and says the mayor has his priorities all wrong. 

Jonathan McNicol/WNPR

With a four-run, eighth-inning rally, the Freedom Division All Stars beat the Liberty Division All Stars, five to one, in the 2015 Atlantic League All-Star Game Wednesday night in Bridgeport.

Now you’re wondering: What’s the Atlantic League? What’re the Freedom and Liberty divisions? And does any of this actually matter?

Charlie Smart / WNPR

The Hartford Yard Goats unveiled their team logo on Wednesday, featuring a feisty goat chewing on a baseball bat.

The nostalgic colors and lettering refer to Hartford sports history -- the Whalers -- and the old New Haven-Hartford-New York train line logo. A "yard goat" is a term for a type of rail car.

Jonathan McNicol/WNPR

Sunday night, Major League Baseball announced the starting lineups for this year’s All-Star Game, to be held next week in Cincinnati. Well, this week, Bridgeport will host another version of all-star baseball at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Dunkin' Donuts is paying a fee to the Hartford Yard Goats to call the city's new minor league baseball stadium Dunkin' Donuts Park. The question is, how much -- and how much will the city actually get?

Josh Solomon owns the minor league team. He says he is bound by a confidentiality agreement with Dunkin'.  But he guaranteed that the city will get no less than the $225,000 it has budgeted for naming rights revenue. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The stadium being built for the minor league Hartford Yard Goats now has a sponsor and a name, and the Yard Goats will play baseball at Dunkin' Donuts Park.

James Skeffington, the Providence lawyer and longtime Rhode Island deal-maker who served as the public face of the new ownership of the Pawtucket Red Sox, died Sunday at age 73.

Skeffington was the top public spokesman and cheerleader for the group that bought the PawSox in February.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Legislation that would limit the jurisdiction of municipal police officers who are enforcing local ordinances is in the state senate.

The bill was introduced in the House after an incident involving former Major League Baseball player and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville. 

Courtesy of the New Haven Independent

About six years ago, I reported about a young fireball pitcher from New Haven named Jericho Scott. When he was just ten years old, his 40-mile-an-hour pitches were so good that one league decided he shouldn’t be allowed to pitch. The story in 2008 went flying around the Internet faster than Scott's fastball.

Ten days ago, Scott, 16 years old, was killed in a drive-by shooting in New Haven. He was a student at Wilbur Cross High School, and had continued to stand out on the ball field.

Photo Phiend / Creative Commons

Republicans at the state capitol hope to get out in front of their counterparts by releasing their own budget plan. But what influence will that have on the majority party? Will new casinos be part of the long-term plan?

At the national level, presidential candidates are balancing their budgets with trips to Connecticut's gold coast, including Sen. Marco Rubio who will headline a GOP fundraiser in Stamford on June 4. That's just a day after the legislative session wraps up, so there may be some tired lawmakers in attendance.

Chion Wolf

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra wants state revenue to help pay for its new $60 million minor league baseball stadium. And he took that case to the capitol Monday.

DoNo Hartford LLC

The city of Hartford wants state tax dollars to help pay back the loans on its new $60 million minor league baseball stadium built for the team that's now in New Britain, and there's a measure at the capitol to get it done. But not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. 

Schoolhouse Rocks

Many bills, including some high-profile ones face the end of their life in the 2015 legislative session. They died a slow death due to personal drama behind closed doors. That allowed an important deadline to pass before moving bills through committee.

Also, remember Keno? That game was legalized by the legislature, then repealed the following year after public outrage. But now that the state is considering more casino gambling, the state lottery is pushing for Keno again and lawmakers are listening.

While Connecticut grapples with a budget deficit, many constituencies are defending their state funding, including librarians who spoke to Gov. Malloy this week. And the Hartford registrars of voters successfully defended their jobs in court.

If this makes your head spin, at least it's baseball season and the Rock Cats get underway in their final season in New Britain. So what happens to the stadium when they move to Hartford?

In 204 days, two teams will face off in the World Series. Until then, fans can dream about their team winning it all, as Major League Baseball's regular season gets going. St. Louis and Chicago played the first game Sunday night; the Cubs lost, 3-0.

Along with that loss, Chicago's fans also endured restroom wait times of up to 30 minutes. Blaming the problem on at least two bathrooms being closed, the club has apologized, Chicago news TV WGN says.

State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) says she plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would allow voters to decide if the new owners of the PawSox can use public financing or tax relief to build their envisioned ballpark on former I-195 land in Providence.

    

Colin McEnroe

Starbucks is trying to start conversation about race relations in America, led by baristas across the nation. The effort has had mixed reviews.  

Mathew Wilson / Creative Commons

Hartford's new minor league baseball team will be the Yard Goats. Team and city officials announced the name Wednesday, complete with two goats, after a contest to rebrand the former New Britain Rock Cats. 

Baseball fans endure the long winter in part because they know, come March, the game will again come alive. They can't wait for their radio, TV, computer screen or smartphone to come alive with scenes from warm climates featuring men in crisp uniforms pitching and catching.

Major League Baseball's spring training is underway, but at this stage, wins and losses aren't really important. It's all about fundamentals: getting ready for the regular season and hopefully the playoffs.

City of Hartford

Saundra Kee Borges left her post as the lead attorney for Hartford and Mayor Pedro Segarra.

But now, she's back -- for baseball. 

Lenny Baker / Creative Commons

Here you go, folks.  It's official.

The next minor league baseball team in Hartford will be named one of the following: Blue Frogs, Screech Owls, Yard Goats, Hound Dogs, Whirlybirds, Praying Mantis, Honey Badgers, Choppers, River Hogs, or Hedgehogs. There were nearly 6,000 entires, and these are the top ten.

DoNo Hartford LLC

The developers of the new minor league baseball stadium in Hartford are also building apartments around the venue. They're looking for ways to make some of those units accessible to people with lower incomes. 

Officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking earlier this week for the baseball stadium. Soon, across the street, the work to build the retail, residential, and entertainment project will begin. 

City of Hartford

The ceremonial groundbreaking for a new $56 million minor league baseball stadium in Hartford happened Tuesday. The park for the New Britain Rock Cats has to be completed in just over a year.

The effort build a minor league baseball stadium began last June, when Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced a plan to build the stadium in the city. He called it a done deal, though it was anything but.

The next series of months saw the fundamentals of the proposal change several times over. What began as a stadium project is now a $350 million development to remake an entire neighborhood.

Think you have a knack for names?

The folks behind minor league baseball in the city of Hartford want you to try your hand at naming an entire team. The only catch: the name has to include the word "Hartford."

City of Hartford

The city of Hartford has reached an agreement with the developer of its new $56 million baseball stadium and with the team owners of the Rock Cats.

The revised development plan with DoNo Hartford LLC calls for improvements to the Downtown North neighborhood that would include a supermarket of up to 50,000 square feet, a brewery, housing, stores, and restaurants. The development agreement also includes hiring preferences for Hartford residents and minority or women-owned business in building the stadium.

A groundbreaking is scheduled for February 17.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

The city of Hartford has executed agreements with the developer of a baseball stadium and the owner of the minor league New Britain Rock Cats, according to bond documents provided to investors.

But you can’t see them -- not yet, anyway.

Last week, we asked the city to see any executed agreements between it and either the developer, DoNo Hartford LLC, or the team owner, Connecticut Double Play LLC.  The city denied that request, saying it was holding the documents "in escrow until all negotiations are resolved."  Typically, executed contract documents are not exempt from disclosure.  (A clarification: We formally asked to inspect the documents with the developer; we only inquired as to the status of the agreements with the team's owners.  We got no response on the latter.)

mrceder / Creative Commons

Just days after it was established and as a blizzard targeted the state, the Hartford Stadium Authority met, chose its officers, and approved tens of millions in borrowing that will allow the city to build a minor league baseball stadium for the New Britain Rock Cats.

The meeting was held last week. The sale of the bonds is apparently next week, and all eyes will be on what investors will charge the authority for its money.

Meanwhile, the city says negotiations are ongoing between it and the developer DoNo Hartford LLC.  A document provided to the stadium authority suggests that an agreement between the city and the baseball team has already been signed.

City of Hartford

A vocal opponent of Hartford's baseball stadium effort is taking issue with last week's city council meeting -- the one that was held as a blizzard approached.

City hall was closed, there was a parking ban, the governor had declared a state of emergency, and police wanted folks off the roads. But the city council nevertheless went ahead and held its meeting to approve the Hartford Stadium Authority.

DoNo Hartford LLC

With the first pitch for the New Britain Rock Cats just 14 months away, Hartford's plan to turn an empty lot into a minor league baseball stadium is moving forward. 

Contract documents between the developer DoNo Hartford LLC and the city could be signed as early as Wednesday.

"There is a pretty fair chance that we'll be signing documents tomorrow, but certainly by the end of this week they will be executed," said Bob Landino, a principal with DoNo. He added that a groundbreaking will likely happen by February 11 or sooner. "We're pretty much on schedule." 

The Connecticut Mirror

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is running for his second full term this year, and a lot of people are looking to unseat him. One is Luke Bronin, the governor's former legal counsel; another is attorney John Gale; and a third is city Councilman Joel Cruz.

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