Hartford Yard Goats release revised schedule, will play more games in Norwich

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Credit: Alan Witkin

HARTFORD — The Hartford Yard Goats have released their updated schedule, now that construction at Dunkin Donuts Park has missed another deadline. The Eastern League team is adding 5 more games to their stay at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.

The Yard Goats have also moved a 3-game series against the Reading Fightin Phils, June 14-16, to the road, to be played in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Season ticket holders are allowed to attend the Norwich games with complementary tickets. All other ticket sales will be handled by the Dodd Stadium box office.

Here is their new schedule:

May 31 OFF DAY
June 1 vs Trenton @ Dodd Stadium 4:05 PM (Double-header)
June 2 vs Trenton @ Dodd Stadium 1:05 PM
June 3 vs Portland @ Dodd Stadium 6:05 PM
June 4 OFF DAY
June 5 vs Portland @ Dodd Stadium 4:05 PM (Double-header)
June 6 vs Portland @ Dodd Stadium 1:05 PM
June 14 @ Reading (Reading, PA) 6:35 PM
June 15 @ Reading (Reading, PA) 6:35 PM
June 16 @ Reading (Reading, PA) 1:05 PM

Key officials met Wednesday to determine the next steps for opening Dunkin’ Donuts Park and determined baseball won’t be played there until July.

Mayor Luke Bronin, the owner of the Hartford Yard Goats and the developers of the park spoke about how to move forward with the remaining construction of the stadium after the developers missed the deadline for “substantial completion” by May 17. The plan was for the team to have its home-opener at the ballpark on May 31.

Because the deadline was missed, the developer, DoNo Hartford, is now expected to pay a $50,000 penalty to the city, as well as $15,000 for each additional day that the park is not ready.

Josh Solomon, the owner of the Yard Goats, also now has the option to pull out his offer for the stadium, per the terms of his agreement with the city, as a way to cover the $2 million in construction overruns. He says everyday he’s losing money.

“I want to know when the ballpark is going to be done, and i want to know when we’re going to be able to play here,” he told FOX 61.

Solomon also released a statement following the news of the delay until July:

We’re extremely disappointed the deadline for substantial completion has been missed, again.

We encourage Mayor Bronin and the Stadium Authority to do everything in their power to get the stadium completed so that the team can come home to Hartford and play ball at Dunkin’ Donuts Park this summer.

The Yard Goats remain committed to our fans and sponsors, to bringing professional baseball back to Hartford with the best park in minor league baseball.

DoNo project manager, Jason Rudnick, said delays happened in part because changes were made to certain already completed construction.

“There’s a stadium here. There’s items that have to be finished. We’re at a point that we’re 95-97 percent,” Rudnick said.  “You gotta finish the rest of it.”

Back in January, about a week after it was announced that Dunkin’ Donuts Park would not open by the originally-planned April 7 date, it was announced that the Yard Goats would start the 2016 season on the road.

Revised contracts called for a May 17 completion date, setting up the first real home game for May 31. The developer insisted the stadium would be completed by May 17 and ready for the city per the terms of the contract, but that obviously didn’t happen.

Earlier this month, a representative for the team’s owners said he had grave concerns about elevators, food service, stairs, and 50 non-compliant issues.

On Thursday, May 12, the team played the first of nine planned “home” games at Dodd Stadium in Norwich. The Connecticut Tigers’ who usually play at Dodd begin their season in June.