Some of the young stars of the Hartford Yard Goats took the field on Monday for the first time at Dunkin' Donuts Park, but they didn't play baseball there.
Instead, a small group of players received a guided tour of the ballpark that is under construction.
“It’s a beautiful ballpark," outfielder Dylan Thomas said. "I can’t wait to get in here."
The players took a tour less than a day before the park is supposed to be "substantially complete" based on an agreement struck in January between the City of Hartford, the Yard Goats' owners and Centerplan, the developer building the stadium.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin has been cautious with his vocabulary when asked about the progress of the stadium. It's clear, he said, that a lot of work is left to be done.
If the park isn't complete, then the city will have to figure out what comes next, he said.
“I never want predict the future," Bronin said. "I think that they are struggling to hit that deadline tomorrow, but they’re certainly working as fast as they can and if they can’t reach that deadline we’ll be sitting down with the developer, the team and the league, and coming up with a path forward.”
If the stadium is not delivered by May 17 and is "substantially complete," then Centerplan, who's representatives weren't available for comment on Monday, could owe $50,000 for the first late day and $15,000 for each day thereafter.
The tardiness might also put in jeopardy a $2 million payment from the owners of the Yard Goats for completion of the project.
Players said they're just excited to get on the field.
Thomas can't wait for the chance to patrol the outfield grass beneath the Dunkin' Donuts signature white cup.
“You get a lot of minor league ballparks that are just kind of off in the middle of nowhere and the stadium here is beautiful. You’ve got the upper deck. So it really does feel like a big league ballpark and it makes you feel like a big leaguer in a sense," he said.