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Baseball is back in Hartford; Yard Goats season starts tonight

The Hartford Yard Goats open their 2022 season Friday night with a home tilt against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 6:06 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - The Hartford Yard Goats open their 2022 season Friday night with a home tilt against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

Goat fans said they were ready to party as the team starts the season at 7:05 p.m. at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford.

There are a lot of new food options this year. The theme is doughnuts.

COVID restrictions also have relaxed.

“We will have a big crowd [Friday night],” said Jeff Dooley, voice of the Hartford Yard Goats. “I think people are excited to come out [Friday night] and not have to worry about the social distancing, not having to worry about wearing a mask. They can just come out and have a good time. Safety is the most important thing for our fans and our players, so we are still taking precautions. There are still areas to clean. We have gone cashless too, and we are trying to avoid the exchange of money. Tickets are digital now so you scan on your iPhone to get in.”

The celebration also goes beyond baseball.

Hartford restaurant and bar owners told Channel 3 that they see a big surge in business on Yard Goat game days. In fact, Friday night there will be a big pregame party on Pratt Street with some VIPs. The team’s mascots, Chew Chew and Chompers, will be in attendance to help kick off the season.

“We are talking about the ballpark that has been named the best minor league park in America year after year, and we’re talking about the team that has the best attendance in the league year after year,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “Can’t wait for this place to be filled again with fans. Can’t wait for all of those fans to be back in downtown Hartford.”

Bloomfield-based Thomas Hooker Brewery will debut its Goat-Ade Shandy Friday night at Dunkin Donuts Park.

The Hartford Yard Goats' Jeff Dooley talks about opening day on April 8.
The Hartford Yard Goats are ready for their home opener Friday night.