Rock Cats face their final out in New Britain

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NEW BRITAIN--The clock is ticking for the New Britain Rock Cats, as the team plays its final homestand  in the Hardware City before the team moves to Hartford for the start of the 2016 season.

On Saturday night, 6,429 fans packed into New Britain Stadium to  get some of their final glimpses of this team.

While attendance has been slumping for most of this season,  huge crowds have turned out for the final home-stand of this season..

"I'm kind of upset avoid because I love going to their games with family and friends," said Julianna O'Brien of Berlin.

"The last game is Sunday. It's bittersweet," said Dan Rohan, a Plainville resident who has attended a majority of Rock Cats games played in New Britain.

For the past 32 years, New Britain's  Eastern League franchise, originally  the Red Sox, now the Rock Cats have built up quite a stable of fans over the years.

Al Nelson, 88, has been to nearly every game at New Britain Stadium, and when the team played at Beehive Field.

"I feel awful. If you've been here for as long and then these people bailing out on us, it's not nice," said Nelson.

There's a feeling of resentment in some fans over the team's move to Hartford to become the Yard Goats next season.

"I'm not going to Hartford and I know a lot of people that feel the same way," Rohan said.

Other long-timers have some hope.

Larry Michaels--- the longest-serving employee of New Britain's Double-A franchise-- has operated the scoreboard at New Britain Stadium and Beehive Field since 1985.

"I feel sorry for the die-hard fans who've already said they're not going to drive to Hartford. They're gonna miss it," Michaels said.

Saturday's game brought a pleasant surprise for the many  fans that came to see Justin Morneau, a Rock Cat from 2001 to 2003.

Morneau, the 2014 National League batting title champion and former American League MVP appeared on a rehab assignment with the Rock Cats for the weekend series.

In the fourth inning on Saturday,  Morneau hit a 400-foot home-run over the right field fence.

"It was a typical Morneau home run," Nelson said.

Many of these Rock Cats fans are creatures of habit, perhaps why change is difficult to embrace.

The final home game for Double A Eastern League baseball in New Britain is Sunday at 1:35 p.m. against Portland, farm team of the Red Sox.