Major League Baseball unveiled the 2021 schedule for its minor league teams on Thursday, including the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, who will open their season on May 4.
The season will include 60 home games at Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford, with the home opener taking place on Tuesday, May 11 against the Portland Sea Dogs.
“We’re excited to announce the 2021 Yard Goats Baseball schedule” said Yard Goats President Tim Restall in a statement. “We’re currently working diligently with Major League Baseball, the State of Connecticut, and the City of Hartford to welcome back players, staff, and fans for Yard Goats games. In the upcoming weeks, more information will be made available on the specifics of the 2021 season."
As part of a realignment in the minor league system, the Yard Goats are now part of the new Northeast Division, along with affiliates from the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.
"This is great news for Hartford," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. "It's great news for the capital region, it's great news for the state." Bronin said the city is eager and desperate to get back to some normal activities in the community.
Bronin said he cannot say yet how many fans will be able to be in the ballpark in May but used the Hartford Athletic's success in the fall at Dillon Stadium as an example of what is possible.
"Even last summer and last fall, when we saw transmission numbers that are roughly the same as what we are seeing right now, we were able to safely welcome fans at Dillon Stadium to watch the Hartford Athletic and regardless of where we are in the vaccination rollout and that effort, I'm confident that we can do it safely and responsibly here," Bronin said. He said it helps that the ballpark is an outdoor venue.
When the team takes the field on May 11, it will have been over 600 days since the team played at the ballpark, Restall said.
Restall said announcements will be forthcoming about game start times and coaching staff. Visiting teams will come for a six-game series, which is a new schedule format.
"I think it's a big boost for our city at a time when we need it," Bronin said. He said he hopes this move will help mark the start of the city's recovery and comeback.
Restall said he plans to have concession stands and other facilities open for the season.
"We are going to make the Yard Goats experience as close to what we can based on the guidance," Restall said.
NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut are proud to be Leadership Partners of the Yard Goats and the team's exclusive broadcast television partner.