The Hartford Yard Goats will become the Praying Mantis for one night. On Thursday, July 27, the Goats will host "What If" Night at Dunkin' Donuts Park celebrating the name Praying Mantis, one of the five finalists when the team was hosting a naming contest in early 2015.
"We will no longer be the Yard Goats, we will be the Praying Mantis," said Dana Feigenbaum, the Yard Goats' promotions manager. "Great night. We have a secret special mascot who may be coming out. Everything in the ballpark will become Praying Mantis. No one will know what the Yard Goats are that night. Hats, jerseys, everything."
There are only two times during the 2017 season when the Yard Goats will wear special uniforms. Those nights are Whalers Alumni Weekend, which took place earlier this month, and "What If" Night. The first 2,000 fans will receive a special Praying Mantis baseball cap. Fans will also have the chance to buy special Praying Mantis merchandise.
Fan Jackson Grady submitted the name Praying Mantis in the team naming contest after the Connecticut state insect.
The other runners up for the team name were: Hedgehogs, River Hogs, and Whirlybirds.
"What If" Night on Thursday kicks off a busy four-game homestand for the Goats against the Reading Fightin Phils, the Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Thursday's game is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. Gates will open at 6 p.m.
Friday's game will feature "Christmas in July" events, including cookie decorating, a dress up contest, and the chance to get your picture taken with Santa. Post-game fireworks will light up the night sky.
Fireworks will also take place after the game Saturday night.
Sunday wraps up the homestand with the Chompers Mascot Bobblehead Giveaway for the first 2,000 fans.
NBC Connecticut is proud to sponsor "What If" Night and to be the official television partner of the Hartford Yard Goats.