New Britain Rock Cats to Become Hartford Yard Goats

The former New Britain Rock Cats will become the Hartford Yard Goats when they move to the capital city next year.

Team leadership announced the winning name at a news conference at the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth & Family Center on Albany Avenue in Hartford on Wednesday afternoon.

They emphasized the importance of selecting a name that bore reference to Hartford and its history. A yard goat is a locomotive that moves cars from track to track in the rail yard.

"A Minor League Baseball player is like that humble Yard Goat, not a glamorous job but working hard day in and day out away from the big city lights to assure that the Major League affiliate is kept on track," team officials said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

The name was chosen from among five finalists. A naming contest brought in 6,000 submissions, and residents cast more than 35,000 online votes to select the top contenders.

The four runners up are as follows:

  • Hedgehogs, a tribute to the insurance industry submitted by Ashley Picard
  • Praying Mantis, after the Connecticut state insect, submitted by Jackson Grady
  • River Hogs, a tribute to the Hog River that flows under the city of Hartford, submitted by Julio Concepcion
  • Whirlybirds, celebrating helicopter manufacturing, submitted by Keith Timme

Anthony Castora, the brains behind the Yard Goats name, will receive lifetime tickets for his winning submission. The runners-up will receive season tickets.

The team's new label will be launched in April 2016 after the completion of Hartford's Downtown North development, which includes a new minor league baseball stadium.

The Yard Goats will play 142 games during the 2016 season, 71 of which will be held at the city's new ballpark situated between Interstates 84 and 91.

The team will unveil its new uniforms, mascot, colors and logo later on.

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