The Yard Goats may have lost its opener but fans say this was still a win as thousands filled the seats at the Hartford ballpark.
Under the bright lights, thousands rooted for the new home team, as the Hartford Yard Goats took on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
The team lost 7-2 against the New Hampshire team, which is the Double-A affiliate for the Toronoto Blue Jays.
"Opening night, been waiting a long time," Shirley Babiec, of Manchester, said.
Some 7,000 fans scoped out the action and the recently completed stadium.
A sold out crowd filled the seats and even overflow standing rooms tickets were snagged for a chance to witness history.
“I think it’s really nice. A lot nicer than I expected to tell you the truth," George Polinski, of East Hartford, said.
But, not everyone at the game was there to compliment the $70 million project.
A small group stood outside and hoped fans and political leaders remember the challenges, delays and pitfalls it took to for the team, formerly known as the New Britain Rock Cats, to get to Hartford.
"My fear is that if we’re not out here continuously bringing this message to everyone’s memory it will happen again," Debra Cohen, who was protesting, said.
Hartford’s mayor Luke Bronin said, despite criticisms in the past, it’s time to embrace this venture.
"After the long and rocky road that we traveled to get here, it’s hugely exciting and obviously a huge relief to be here today," Bronin said.
That’s why for many, the night was about fun. And a chance to sample a signature Dunkin Donuts Park BLT, made with donuts.
Many said they will be back and hope this leads to even bigger things for the city.
“This is why you take on these types of enterprises because it usually affects those things around it in a more positive light.” Patricia Williams, of Hartford said.
Yard Goats will play 70 games this season. You can find the full schedule here.