WNPR

Yard Goats

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

The American League Division Series start today. This afternoon, the lowly Boston Red Sox play in Houston, and then tonight, the 27-time world champion New York Yankees play in Cleveland.

Tomorrow, we get fully four postseason baseball games, with both National League series starting.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Note: This episode contains strong language.

There are 203 ballparks currently being used by affiliated, professional baseball teams in the United States: 30 in the Major Leagues, 23 spring training facilities used by the big league clubs and their Rookie League affiliates, and 150 Minor League stadiums spread over six levels of baseball.

The last three of those 203 parks opened this season: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the new spring training facility for the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals; SunTrust Park in Atlanta, where the Braves play.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

The Hartford Yard Goats were an entertainment success in their first year in the capital city -- selling out 41 of 70 home games this season, including the final 21.

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.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

 

The Connecticut high school baseball championships will be played this weekend, and some of the playoffs were played on the state’s newest stage. Four high school teams got to play at the brand new minor league stadium in Hartford. 

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.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

We've been feeling like maybe all the serious politics coverage we've been doing has crowded out some of the nonsense sports coverage we like to do.

So this hour: sports nonsense and nothing else.

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 Yard Goats completed their first home stand in Hartford with their first home win at Dunkin’ Donuts Park Thursday. They beat Harrisburg 1-0. Hartford failed in its previous five chances to win at home.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

After 65 years, professional baseball made its return to Hartford Thursday, as the Yard Goats hosted -- and lost to -- the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Wasted Time R / Wikimedia Commons

The Hartford Yard Goats' home opener on April 13 coincides with a day that some of the city's biggest sports fans will never forget.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The mayor who wanted it is gone. The developer who built it is gone. And the plans to build around it are on hold. But finally, after a year of delay, Hartford’s new minor league baseball stadium is about to have its first minor league game. 

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