Soft opening for new Hartford ballpark held Tuesday - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Soft opening for new Hartford ballpark held Tuesday

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

It's the beginning of an era in Hartford.

The first baseball game was played Tuesday night at the new Dunkin Donuts Park, but the Yard Goats did not take the field.

Instead, it was a "soft opening" featuring two Connecticut college teams.

The University of Hartford Hawks played the Quinnipiac Bobcats under the lights at 7:15 p.m.

Yard Goats general manager Tim Restall said the team is delighted to have both college teams in for a dress rehearsal. 

"It's good to see players on the field, that's always a positive whether they're Yard Goats or the university, it's good to see baseball being played," Restall said.

On Tuesday night, the lights went out at the stadium during the 8th inning. Ballpark officials said the light issue happened because of a problem with a timer, but the lights themselves are working fine.

Officials said the timer was set to automatically shut lights off at 10 p.m. Now that the season is going on, the timer will be shut off.

It is an important step to help staff prepare for what will be the big home opener on Thursday.

Last year, the Yard Goats were supposed to kick off the season in Hartford after the former New Britain Rock Cats moved to the capital city.

"This is fantastic I was born and raised in Hartford I never thought I'd see this so I'm thrilled," said Brian Mathews.

There are still some lingering issues involving prior construction delays and cost overruns.

The FBI is investigating the construction of the stadium and work done by the facility's former contractor Centerplan, which the city fired.

This season, the AA Eastern League affiliate for the Colorado Rockies, the Yard Goats, finally have their home nearly set for baseball.

The team will retire baseball legend Roberto Clemente's number 21 and Jackie Robinson's 42 during Thursday's game.

Both numbers have been retired throughout major and minor league baseball.

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