<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut https://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-usFri, 17 Aug 2018 21:38:41 -0400Fri, 17 Aug 2018 21:38:41 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[The Best Stadium Food Menu Items at NFL Games This Year]]> Fri, 17 Aug 2018 15:01:29 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jamaican-Jerk-Sausage--Arrowhead.jpg Aramark, the food service provider for 14 NFL teams around the country, has revealed its roster of new menu items for the 2018 season. The company partnered with several James Beard Award-winning chefs to create mouth-watering dishes.

Photo Credit: Aramark]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Yard Goats]]> Tue, 04 Apr 2017 12:25:40 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Yard_Goats_Jingle_1200x675_615127107875.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Pro-Eagles Billboard Pops Up Near Gillette Stadium]]> Tue, 14 Aug 2018 19:56:43 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/Gillette+Stadium+pro+Eagles+billboard.jpg

Talk about some super trolling: a billboard in Foxborough, Massachusetts has popped up taunting New England Patriots fans ahead of the team's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gina Lewis, the self-proclaimed "biggest Eagles fan alive" living in Massachusetts, said she raised $5,000 to cover the billboard fee and is now raising $10,000 to donate to Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz's charity.

The Boston Globe reports the ad is on an electronic billboard on Route 1 near Gillette Stadium, and that it all started with a tweet in June.

"My Coworker (Pats fan) says if I can get 4100 likes and 3300 RTs he'll pay to put this on a Billboard here in New England!!" Lewis wrote online two months ago. "He says the chances of getting that many are as good as us winning another SB!!! Eagles Nation, let's hand New England another L and make this happen!!"

As of Aug. 14, the tweet had more than 8,500 retweets and nearly 14,500 likes.

The Eagles defeated New England 41-33 in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis back in February.

The Patriots meet Philadelphia again on the field for a preseason game at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Gillette Stadium.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[UConn, Tennessee Women’s Basketball Teams to Face Each Other Again]]> Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:27:31 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/UConn+National+ChampionsGettyImages-5192982681.jpg

It’s been 12 years, but the championship winning UConn and Tennessee women’s basketball programs will face each other again. The teams will play each other in a two-year series. 

UConn will host Tennessee during the 2019-2020 season and part of the proceeds will benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

“I am happy to have the Lady Vols back on our schedule and am thrilled that proceeds to our games will benefit such an important endeavor like the Pat Summitt Foundation,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “I know our fans will be excited to renew the rivalry with Tennessee and expect them to fill the building for some good basketball and a great cause.” 

For the 2020-2021 season, the Lady Vols will host the Huskies in Knoxville and part of the proceeds will benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Game dates and times have not yet been announced, but the event will be showcased during the annual We Back Pat week. 

“The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate all levels of the game for both men and women,” John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “When it comes to women’s college hoops, there’s no match-up more highly anticipated than that of UConn versus Tennessee. We’re so proud to unite these teams in a contest benefitting great causes and honoring the late Hall of Famer Pat Summitt.” 

UConn released a statement saying UConn leads the all-time series vs. Tennessee, 13-9 and the Huskies defeated the Lady Vols four times in the NCAA Championship game. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Adaptive Camp Helps Young Athletes With Physical Disabilities Play Sports]]> Mon, 13 Aug 2018 11:30:30 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AdaptiveCamp.png

Athletes are athletes.

“They just want to hit the ball again. They just want to work on their skill set,” Karin Korb said, while instructing a group of campers at the Ivan Lendl Adaptive Sports Camp last week.

Like any athlete, they’ll tell you about themselves. For some, that’s explaining that they have cerebral palsy. For others, describing a paralyzing gymnastics back injury. But these athletes would rather just tell you about their game.

“I always try to hit the ball, no matter what,” said camper Hennessy Hernandez. “No matter how bad it might be.”

For one week each summer, that’s all these athletes have to focus on. Between basketball and tennis instruction, there’s hardly any time to explain the answers to their frequently asked questions.

“You don’t learn to walk so you can play basketball or something,” Hernandez said. “You have to learn the game.”

Enfield’s Andrew Haraghey is back as an instructor at this year’s camp, fresh from his Paralympic debut. He finished 18th in downhill and 24th in Super-G in PyeongChang, but his journey to becoming a Paralympian started at the Ivan Lendl camp.

“Before that, I hadn’t really thought about using a wheelchair,” said Haraghey on his start in adaptive sports.

And he’s not the only world class athlete instructing at the camp. Korb is a two-time Paralympian and 10-time tennis world team member. Now, they’re teaching the next generation.

“These kids are going to go and be like, ‘wow, I know how to play tennis,’” said Korb. “Or, ‘I know instructors who play tennis,’ or, ‘I have friends who play tennis and if you want to play tennis with me, I can play tennis with you.’”

The Ivan Lendl Adaptive Sports Camp is run through the Hospital For Special Care. It is entirely volunteer based. You can find more information for interested campers or on volunteering here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Jeremy Hill Shines in Pats Win, While Stars Stay on Bench]]> Fri, 10 Aug 2018 08:56:19 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/patGettyImages-1014169648.jpg

Ugly at times, the Patriots showed life in the second half of a 26-17 victory over Washington in the preseason opener for both teams Thursday night.

It was a game in which neither Tom Brady nor Rob Gronkowski played for the Patriots on the offensive side of the ball. Defensive stalwart Devin McCourty didn’t see the field, either.

Brady, whose contract is reportedly being reworked to add $5 million in incentives, didn't play Thursday night because he is dealing with a sore back, according to the Boston Globe's Jim McBride, who cited a league source.

Save for a few promising bursts from newcomer Jeremy Hill out of the backfield and a few encouraging moments from rookie Ja’Whaun Bentley and second-year player Derek Rivers on the defensive side of the ball, reasons for optimism didn’t jump off the page for New England in its preseason opener.

Perhaps the most significant development among those fighting for a roster spot came in the offensive backfield for the Patriots, where Hill shined and Mike Gillislee struggled to find any sort of consistency during the game – particularly in short yardage situations.

Hill, meanwhile, carried the ball 11 times for 51 yards – a solid 4.6 yards per rush – while adding two catches for 14 yards and demonstrating the ability to pass block on more occasion than one. Hill’s 1-yard touchdown run with 4:44 left in the third quarter produced New England’s first touchdown of the game.

Should Sony Michel, the No. 31 overall pick in the draft for the Patriots, not be fully healthy to begin the regular season, there’s likely room for both Hill and Gillislee on the 53-man roster. But if Michel’s knee is good to go by the Sept. 9 opener, advantage Hill through one preseason game. Undrafted rookie Ralph Webb came on in the second half with 14 carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns as well. His first score preceded a catch on a two-point conversion play with 9:05 left to give the Patriots an 18-17 lead.

No one made a name for themselves at wide receiver in the game, unless you want to count Devin Lucien’s four catches for 71 yards. Cordarrelle Patterson had two catches for 38 yards in his Patriots debut, while Eric Decker – signed just last week – wasn’t targeted.

Julian Edelman, playing for the first time since tearing his ACL in New England’s third preseason game in 2017, wasn’t targeted despite playing on each of the team’s first four series.

Rivers, a third-round pick of the Patriots in 2017, missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL. As such, tonight was his NFL debut, and on New England’s very first play from scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball, he wrapped up Washington tailback Rob Kelley and limited him to a 1-yard gain.

Rivers was later flagged for roughing-the-passer on what appeared to be a borderline call at best.

Bentley, a fifth-round pick out of Purdue in April for the Patriots, had six total tackles – the same number as Elandon Roberts, who was curiously still in the game with many projected backups and eventual roster cuts late in the third quarter.

Brian Hoyer took every offensive snap under center for New England sans Brady until mid-way through the fourth quarter, when the Danny Etling era got underway.

Hoyer struggled in the first half, as the team went three-and-out on each of its first two possessions and picked up only four total first downs – Washington had 13 – but showed why he’s still likely the best option to backup No. 12 should something go awry with his second half performance.

Hoyer, who finished the game 16 for 23 passing for 144 yards, engineered consecutive lengthy scoring drives to begin the second half for New England. A 19-play, 84-yard drive resulted in Hill’s touchdown after 10:16 of game clock expired, and a 16-play, 90-yard drive produced Webb’s touchdown and two-point conversion after chewing up 8:05.

The first pass of Etling’s career went for 18 yards to Lucien up the left sideline. His first drive ended abruptly, however, after he botched a handoff to Gillislee five plays later that wound up in Washington’s possession. Etling’s pass to Lucien was his lone completion in three attempts.

A Trent Harris strip-sack of Kevin Hogan in the fourth quarter enabled Geneo Grissom to scoop and nearly score running 53 yards before being tracked down at the 1-yard line. Webb added his second touchdown and two-point conversion to close out scoring for the Patriots.

New England escaped the game with its collective health largely intact. Safety Jordan Richards left the game in the second quarter with an apparent leg injury, though not after whiffing on a tackle on Cam Sims near the end of a 57-yard gain that also included a poorly-timed jump by Keion Crossen that enabled Sims to break free in the first place.

Stephen Gostkowski also nailed a 52-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the first half, proving he still has plenty of power in his right leg. The 13-year veteran made all four of his kicks from 50 or more yards in 2017.

The Patriots have a scheduled off-day Friday. Next up is a rematch of Super Bowl LII, when the Philadelphia Eagles pay a visit to Foxboro next Thursday at 7:30 p.m. There just might be some additional buzz around that one.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Patriots Reworking Tom Brady's Contract]]> Fri, 10 Aug 2018 08:54:28 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/tom+brady5.jpg

The New England Patriots are expected to rework Tom Brady's current contract, according to an ESPN report.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Thursday that the team is working to add "a variety of performance-based incentives to bring him closer to market," similar to what they did for tight end Rob Gronkowski last year.

Brady is currently scheduled to earn $15 million this year. That's more than $10 million less than the $27.5-million per year Brady's former backup, Jimmy Garropolo, will earn over the next five years from the San Francisco 49ers.

Schefter said the Patriots are expected to officially add "up to $5 million" in incentives to Brady's contract sometime Thursday or Friday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Patriots Prepare for First Preseason Game Against Redskins]]> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 10:37:42 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Patriots-AP_379279344617.jpg

Are you ready for football season?

The New England Patriots are giving fans a taste of the upcoming season with the first preseason game Thursday against the Washington Redskins.

The game is the perfect chance for the Patriots to fine-tune what they’ve been working on during training camp to get ready for the start of the regular season. You can expect the team will look different when they start the season’s home opener on Sept. 9.

Right now, there are 89 players. The team will eventually be knocked down to 53 players.

Veteran safety says that for him, the start of a new season is special.

"It feels good, man, blessed," he said. "A lot of players don’t really get to play this long and be able to actually play. I take it as a blessing and try to keep it going."

The MBTA Commuter Rail will once again be running for the game. Round trip tickets are $20 and the trains will leave from South Station at 5:35 p.m. It will make stops in Back Bay and Dedham.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NFL to Have Its First Male Cheerleaders This Season]]> Wed, 08 Aug 2018 14:29:40 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/LA-Rams-Male-Cheerleaders.jpg

Male dancers will appear on NFL sidelines starting in 2018.

The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams both added men to their cheerleading teams, according to the rosters on their official team websites.

It marks the first time men will be cheering a team in the league since the spirit squads made their debut in 1954, according to nfl.com. All but six of the 32 NFL teams have cheerleading teams. 

Men perform stunts during Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens games but don’t dance alongside the women, according to a USA Today report.

The Rams added two men to their cheerleading roster and the Saints added one.

"We are proud that one of our new members Jesse Hernandez, like all of the other candidates, went through a very rigorous and thorough audition process which was podcast on our digital assets," said Ashley Deaton, senior director of the Saintsations, in an email. "Jesse was evaluated by a panel of judges that deemed his talents warranted a position on the team."

In an email, a Rams spokeswoman said there are 40 cheerleaders on this year's team. The selection process includes an application submission, two rounds of preliminary auditions, an interview, three rehearsals and a final audition.

Future Rams cheerleader Napoleon Jinnies tweeted that he "still can't believe" he's one of the first cheerleaders in the NFL: "Everyone’s support and love has been insane!"

Photo Credit: LA Rams Cheerleaders]]>
<![CDATA['Links at the Yard': Yard Goats to Host Golf Event at DDP]]> Wed, 08 Aug 2018 10:38:41 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/232*120/Links+at+the+Yard.jpeg

The Hartford Yard Goats announced a four-day golf event to be held at Dunkin' Donuts Park in September.  

Golfers of all ability levels will be able to play nine Par 3 target-style holes throughout the ballpark September 27-30.  Golfers can select to play in twosomes or foursomes.

“We are excited to bring another creative and fun event to Dunkin’ Donuts Park that accentuates the flexibility of this beautiful venue, and continues to deliver on the promise of the park being about more than baseball,” Yard Goats President Tim Restall said. “We are also working with our friends at the Travelers Championship and the First Tee of Connecticut to enhance the golf experience.”

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day with tee times every nine to 10 minutes.

The course layout of “Links At The Yard” was coordinated in partnership with local PGA Professional Pete Seaman and award winning golf course development firm Dusenberry Design.

The longest hole will be about 135 yards.  The tees will be throughout elevated areas of the ballpark.

While a selection of Callaway golf clubs will be provided at each hole, golfers are invited to bring their own.  No drivers or woods will be permitted, only irons and wedges.

“We are excited to partner with the Yard Goats on the Links at the Yard this year,” Callaway Golf Senior Marketing Manager Nathan Adelman said. “They have so much energy and passion for creating an authentic and unique golf experience in their new stadium, and Callaway is happy to be a part of that. After bringing stadium golf close to our headquarters in San Diego, we’re thrilled to have stadium golf near our golf ball manufacturing plant in Chicopee, MA."

Local golf courses Keney Park and Goodwin Park partnered with the team to help organize the event.

The Yard Goats continue to look for ways to have the ballpark be close to a year-round facility with added events beyond baseball, including holiday parties at the G.O.A.T. Brew Fest.

The price for the event is $52 per golfer. A limited number of spots are available. 

Tickets to Links at the Yard are availabe through the Yard Goats website, by calling 860-246-GOAT (4628) or in person at the Click It or Ticket Box Office at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

The Hartford Yard Goats are back at home Friday, Aug. 10 against the Bowie Baysox.

NBC Connecticut is the proud media partner of the Hartford Yard Goats.

Photo Credit: Hartford Yard Goats
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<![CDATA[Remy Shares Inspirational Message After Cancer Diagnosis]]> Wed, 08 Aug 2018 09:49:36 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jerry_Remy_to_Receive_Chemotherapy.jpg

Boston Red Sox television commentator Jerry Remy shared an inspirational message on Twitter on Wednesday morning following his recent cancer diagnosis.

"Thank you all for all of your support," he said. "This has hit me hard but I have never quit and will not now. I have complete trust in my team at Mass General. Bring it home Sox !!!"

NESN announced Tuesday that the long-time color commentator has been diagnosed with cancer again.

"The thoughts and prayers of all of us at NESN and the Red Sox are with Jerry and his family during this difficult time," the television network said in a statement.

Remy was not part of NESN's broadcast team for Tuesday night's game against the Blue Jays. The network did not disclose details of Remy's diagnosis or provide a timeline for how long he might be away, but said Steve Lyons will fill in for him while he's out.

The 65-year-old former Red Sox second baseman was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, relapsed in 2013 and again twice in 2017. He returned this season for his 31st year broadcasting the team's games.

Remy was a longtime smoker and has spoken publicly in favor of regular medical checkups.

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<![CDATA[NESN Commentator Jerry Remy Diagnosed With Cancer Again]]> Tue, 07 Aug 2018 17:19:19 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jerry_Remy_to_Receive_Chemotherapy.jpg

NESN announced Tuesday that long-time color commentator Jerry Remy has been diagnosed with cancer again.

"The thoughts and prayers of all of us at NESN and the Red Sox are with Jerry and his family during this difficult time," the television network said in a statement.

NESN said Remy's focus right now is on his medical treatment.

The 65-year-old returned to the broadcast booth during spring training of this year after undergoing surgery for lung cancer last summer. This is his sixth relapse.

Remy has been with the Red Sox since 1988, providing color commentary. He played second base for the team from 1978 through 1984.

<![CDATA[Yard Goats Announce 2019 Schedule]]> Wed, 08 Aug 2018 11:03:09 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/YG+logo.jpg

The Hartford Yard Goats released their 2019 schedule and will open the season at Dunkin' Donuts Park on Thurs., April 11.

The home opener will be against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at 7:05 p.m. following a weeklong road trip to start to the season.

The team will play a total of 70 games at home in Hartford in 2019.

The Yard Goats will host the Red Sox affiliate, the Portland Sea Dogs (9 games) with visits in April, May and August. The Yard Goats will host the Yankees affiliate, the Trenton Thunder (6 games) in June and August. In addition, the Yard Goats will host the New York Mets affiliate, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (6 games) in June and August. The Yard Goats will entertain the Yankees and Mets affiliates for an entire homestand, June 4-9.

You can see the full schedule here.

NBC Connecticut is proud to be the official media partner of the Hartford Yard Goats.

<![CDATA[NASCAR CEO Busted for DWI in NY, Had Drugs Too: Cops]]> Mon, 06 Aug 2018 18:18:13 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-961854516.jpg

The CEO of NASCAR is facing charges for allegedly driving while intoxicated on Long Island, and for having illegal drugs in his possession, officials said Monday. 

Sag Harbor Village Police Department arrested Brian Z. France around 7 p.m. Sunday after officers allegedly observed him driving a 2017 Lexus northbound on Main Street and failing to stop at a stop sign.

According to authorities, upon a traffic stop, officers determined that France was allegedly driving drunk. They also say he was in possession of oxycodone pills.

France is charged with aggravated DWI and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. He was arraigned Monday morning in Sag Harbor and was released on his own recognizance. 

Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available.

NASCAR says it takes France's arrest "as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts."

On Monday, France issued a statement apologizing for the incident.

“I apologize to our fans, our industry and my family for the impact of my actions last night. Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs,” he said.

Additionally, in a subsequent statement afternoon, NASCAR futher said: "Brian France has taken an indefinite leave of absence from NASCAR as chairman and chief executive officer. Effective immediately, NASCAR Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Jim France has assumed the role of interim chairman and chief executive officer."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New York Mets Fans to Receive Free Therapy]]> Sun, 05 Aug 2018 16:18:43 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mets+thumbnail.jpg

UMA Health CEO Dave Kerpen announced that, due to the Mets’ worst loss in history this season, UMA Health will be offering free therapy sessions with licensed mental health professionals to all Mets fans.

<![CDATA[Behind the Scenes With Yard Goats Manager Warren Schaeffer]]> Sun, 05 Aug 2018 11:44:56 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Behind_the_Scenes_With_Yard_Goats_Manager_Warren_Schaeffer.jpg

Have you ever wondered what it sounds like in the dugout when Roberto Ramos hits a homer? Or Matt Pierpont is throwing strikes? Well in this NBC Connecticut exclusive, we mic'd up ‘Goats skipper Warren Schaeffer to get a behind the scenes look and get to know the first year manager along the way.

Warren Schaeffer knows a thing or two about managing goats and that’s not just because he’s the Yard Goats Manager.

"I had to take care of a goat once on a farm,” Schaeffer said. “And she always got her head stick between the dang fence and you’d have to wiggle her horns out.”

Turns out, that wasn’t his calling. Fortunately, Schaeffer now has a different kind of herd under his management.

“My dad always told me just do something that’s going to affect other people,” Schaeffer said on his decision to cut his minor league career short in 2012. “I felt like this was the right route for that.”

Now, he’s one of the youngest managers in minor league ball, taking over as the skipper for the Colorado Rockies Double-A affiliate in Hartford.

“I’m with the infielders all the time. That’s my specialty. That’s where I played, so I know the most about that,” Schaeffer said of his pregame practice routine, that usually starts four hours before a home game. “That’s what I enjoy the most is the relationships that you develop with these guys.”

So when gametime does come, it may look like just another day at the office. But don’t let Schaeffer fool you, he know’s he’s hit it out of the park.

“It’s so great to be able to come out on a beautiful baseball field every day and earn money,” said Schaeffer. “You know, it’s a dream come true. It’s awesome.”

<![CDATA[CT Sun in Home Stretch of Regular Season]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 23:40:01 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Shekinna-Stricklen.jpg

The Connecticut Sun are in the home stretch of the regular season. After a grueling stint on the road, the Sun play five of their last seven games at Mohegan Sun Arena.

In fact, they were back at home Wednesday night when Sun Shekinna Stricklen posted a four-point play for a second time this season, and for a second time against the New York Liberty.

Wednesday night’s hoop and harm started the scoring for Connecticut. But back on June 7, Stricklen got the and-1 on a buzzer-beating three that clinched the win.

Stricklen found her footing as a starter last season, when the Sun struggled through a smattering of injuries. This season, she is finding her place wherever she’s needed, splitting her time as a starter and a reserve. But in her fourth year with the Sun, Stricklen says wherever she’s playing, she’s doing it with a smile on her face.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Yard Goats Hosting Yankees' Trenton Thunder This Weekend at Dunkin' Donuts Park]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 18:28:25 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/harry+potter+night.jpg

The Hartford Yard Goats are hosting the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, this weekend at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. This weekend marks the first time the Thunder have visited Hartford in 2018.

Because of the popularity of the Yankees in the Northeast, games against the Thunder are always heavily attended and draw legions of fans of the Bronx Bombers seeking autographs or hoping to see a big leaguer on assignment.

The Thunder are currently sitting in second place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division and only two games back of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.  The Yard Goats are in third place, just over nine games behind the Thunder.  The Goats play the Thunder eight times in August with the playoffs on the line.

This weekend also marks the return of fan-favorite player Drew Weeks to Dunkin' Donuts.  Weeks played in Hartford in 2017 before getting the call up to Albuquerque, the Rockies' Triple-A club earlier in 2018.  But after 49 games in New Mexico with the Isotopes, Weeks is back with the Goats and likely to get a warm reception from the fans. 

But there's more than just baseball to be excited about at the park this weekend.

Fans are gearing up for a big game on Sunday night as the team honors wizarding legend Harry Potter. The first 1,500 fans in attendance Sunday, Aug. 5 will receive a “Golden Snitch Theme Baseball” as a free giveaway.

You can expect plenty of other Harry Potter-themed surprises throughout the night.  But good news, we're told Muggles are welcome!

If you arrive early at Sunday's game, you'll have a chance to meet a number of members of the NBC Connecticut team, including Kaitlyn McGrath, Jill Konopka, Heather Burian and CT LIVE!'s Taylor Kinzler.

They'll all be celebrity scoopers at Scooper Sunday helping raise money for the Jordan Porco Foundation and adult suicide prevention programs.  There will be 30 different flavors of ice cream to choose from eight vendors, including A.C. Petersen Farms, Bear's UConn Dairy Bar, Capital Ice Cream and Ben & Jerry's.

Scooper Sunday will run from 3:15 to 7 p.m. at the Sam Adams Party Deck.

The American Red Cross will be honoring NBC CT, Telemundo Connecticut and the Hartford Yard Goats before Sunday's game after last month's largest ever single-day blood drive at Dunkin' Donuts Park.

Standing Room Only tickets remain available for Sunday's game.

NBC Connecticut is proud to be the official media partner of the Hartford Yard Goats.

Photo Credit: NBC CT
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<![CDATA[Edsall Has Message For Players This Season]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 12:39:13 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Edsall_Has_Message_For_Players_This_Season_1200x675_1291705923903.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Kaepernick Removal From Madden Song Sparks Controversy]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 06:16:48 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kaepGettyImages-635802852.jpg

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick again is at the center of controversy and it has led to an apology from Redwood City-based EA Sports.

In the company's new Madden NFL 19, EA Sports edited a song by rapper YG featured in the game's soundtrack. Big Sean is featured in the song, and a line in his verse names the former National Football League player, but EA Sports removed the reference.

Nicki Minaj and 2Chainz are also featured in the song. 

YG responded on Instagram Thursday, saying that none of the artists approved of Kaepernick's name being removed. Big Sean in a tweet Thursday also accused the company and the NFL of censoring the song.

EA Sports late Thursday apologized, saying it accidentally edited the song because they do not have rights to include Kaepernick's likeness in the game. The company said the unedited song will appear in the game through an update.

Kaepernick ignited a national movement in 2016 after refusing to stand during the national anthem before NFL games.

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Photo Credit: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Tom Brady Was 'Devastated' Kraft Didn't Appeal 'Deflategate' Punishment]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 09:49:32 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-908471248.jpg

A new book about Tom Brady and the Deflategate saga says the New England Patriots quarterback was "devastated and angry" at team owner Robert Kraft's decision not to fight the NFL's punishment.

An excerpt from the book "12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady's Season of Redemption" by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge says Brady watched on television as Kraft spoke to reporters, saying he would not appeal NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's ruling. He immediately called DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association.

"What the f---?" Brady shouted into the phone, according to the book. "Why am I not getting the support I deserve on this thing."

Smith then tried to console Brady, according to the excerpt, saying Kraft's comments had no bearing on the appeal of Brady's suspension.

According to the book, Brady and Smith efforted a settlement with Goodell, with the quarterback offering to pay a $1 million fine. The book claims Goodell demanded a statement publicly accusing Patriots employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally of tampering with footballs.

"There's no way I'm gonna ruin these guys for something I believe they didn't do," Brady told Smith, according to the book.

Sherman told NBC10 Boston that Kraft has tried to repair his relationship with Brady over the past two years, including trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers in 2017.

"It made no sense from a football standpoint, but Robert Kraft was heartbroken by the decision he had to make for the betterment of his team in 2015 and he was willing to make this other decision to build that relationship back with Tom Brady," Sherman said.

The book says Brady maintained a positive attitude throughout the Deflategate saga. He believed the case was "overblown" because of the Patriots' Super Bowl victory and thought everything would eventually die down.

It also quotes NFLPA officials saying that Brady's decision not to turn over his cellphone turned the case into a "personal vendetta" for NFL investigator Ted Wells.

The NFL ultimately suspended Brady for four games and docked the Patriots $1 million and two draft picks for allegedly using under-inflated footballs during the 2015 Championship Game.

Kraft initially said the team would fight the punishment, but later backed down, saying it was for the good of the league.

Brady would continue to fight the suspension before ultimately accepting the penalty and missing the first four games of the 2016 season. The quarterback has never admitted to any of the charges against him.

Sherman and Wedge, who are also behind the movies "The Finest Hours" and "Patriots Day," say they're looking to turn the Brady book into a feature film.

Sherman was asked which actor would play Brady.

"Somebody that's well over six feet and can throw a spiral," he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[10-Year-Old Breaks One of Phelps' Oldest Swimming Records]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 13:59:09 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/superman+thumbnail.jpg

Ten-year-old Clark Kent took Michael Phelps' name off the record board in the 100-meter butterfly at the Far West International Swimming Championship.

<![CDATA[Red Sox Place Chris Sale on 10-Day DL]]> Tue, 31 Jul 2018 17:48:34 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/190*120/GettyImages-939828862.jpg

The Boston Red Sox announced Tuesday that they have placed starting pitcher Chris Sale on the 10-day disabled list with mild left shoulder inflammation, retroactive to July 28.

To fill Sale’s spot on the 25-man roster, the club recalled pitcher Brandon Workman from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson will start Thursday's game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.

Sale, 29, is 11-4 with a 2.04 ERA in 22 starts this season. He leads the majors in strikeouts and opponent batting average and has the lowest ERA in the American League. Before the injury he was considered among the front-runners for the AL Cy Young Award.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron James Opens School for At-Risk Children]]> Tue, 31 Jul 2018 12:32:48 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lebron+school.jpg

LeBron James, who recently left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, continued to give back to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, with a brand new school. The I Promise School opened Monday with 240 third and fourth grade children.

<![CDATA[Another Gold Medal for Monica Puig]]> Mon, 30 Jul 2018 15:08:44 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/monicapuigGettyImages-1007873136.jpg

Monica Puig gave Puerto Rico her fifth consecutive gold medal on Monday in women's singles tennis in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia. 

Puig, the champion in the Mayagüez 2010 and Veracruz 2014 games, won in two sets, both 6-1, against Colombian Mariana Duque. 

The tennis player has continued the winning streak for Puerto Rico in the regional match that launched Kristina Brandi with gold medals in the El Salvador Games 2002 and Cartagena 2006.

At the end of the match, a smiling Puig dedicated the medal to Puerto Rico, according to El Nuevo Dia

"Puerto Rico, this is for you. Thank you for never losing faith. Thank you for believing in me, supporting me. Let's get on our feet," the athlete said. "This record is for you all."

When asked about the competition, Puig noted her surprise at how easily she won. She thought there would be three sets because whenever she's gone up against Duque, they've had close matches. 

"I felt really good, focused on the match. Very disciplined. From the start, I began with my plan and I never abandoned it. I served very well. I hit back very well. I played the points very well. Simply stated, I don't think I made many errors," she said. 

The Olympic champion arrived in Barranquilla after a few weeks of inactivity due to a hip injury. 

Puig will return to the tennis arena this evening in a match alongside fellow Puerto Rican Monica Matias, to compete for the bronze medal in women's doubles. Their rivals will be the Bahamians Robin Pratt and Danielle Thompson. 

Watch Telemundo's coverage below:

Photo Credit: LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images]]>