I made it to my 120th stadium with my visit to Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Hartford Yard Goats. I was able to attend a Sunday afternoon game as a day trip from here in the Philadelphia area. It’s nice to see a brand new ballpark and they did a good job with this one. One interesting feature that I noticed is that they have two levels of seating in right field, and the yellow line to signify where a home run needs to be is at the beginning of the second level. The first level is behind netting, but any ball that hits the netting is in play. They also have a pen where live goats are kept which is used as a mini petting zoo, which I thought was a nice touch.
I bought a ticket ahead of time because I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity to get to a Yard Goats game. And even though there were only about 10 non-standing room tickets available when I got mine, I was able to get a pretty good seat between the two dugouts. They were also kind enough to let me go up to the suite level to take some pictures of the stadium from behind home plate.
The game itself was pretty good as well. I’m not sure why I’m seeing so much offense this year as the winning team scored at least 8 runs in the three games I’ve attended so far. The Yard Goats beat the Altoona Curve by a score of 8-5 without any home runs being hit. So there was a good amount of offense at the game. The Curve were down 8-1 before starting their comeback, but they couldn’t complete it despite having their cleanup hitter, 1B Will Craig, at the plate as the tying run in the top of the 8th.
I was excited to see the Rockies top prospect, 2B Brendan Rogers, play, but he ended up getting hit by a pitch in both the 1st and 2nd innings and finished 0-3. I was also impressed to see the Yard Goats cleanup hitter, 6-5 225 lb RF Sam Hilliard steal both 2nd and 3rd base in the same inning, and was surprised by his overall speed given his career stolen base totals. 3B Ryan Metzler had the best hitting performance of the team going 3-4 with a double and 2 RBIs.
The Curve had two of their top prospects at the top of their lineup for the game, and they each had mutliple hits. SS Cole Tucker matched Metzler’s stat line and added a walk to it. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes went 2-4 with an RBI double.
I’ve always been a bit of a traditionalist with baseball and been in favor of having pitchers hit since it creates some extra strategy within the game beyond what the designated hitter provides. But after seeing Altoona pitcher Pedro Vasquez in the batter’s box, I might change my mind. He was struggling quite a bit and seemed to be taking the approach of taking pitches until he absolutely had to do something. Professionally, he’s only had to bat this season and he is 0 for 5 with a walk and two strikeouts.