It may have all been in good fun, but according to one Hartford city leader, the naming of the Capital's new minor league baseball franchise was not in good taste.
Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud, sits on the board of the Hartford Stadium Authority, which oversees construction of the team’s new multi-million-dollar ballpark.
He took exception to the new team name "Yard Goats" and shared his criticisms with a member of the team’s ownership group Tuesday afternoon during the Authority’s third meeting since its inception.
Moments before Cloud made his feelings known, Josh Solomon, of the Yard Goats ownership group, told authority members more than 30,000 people cast ballots as part of the naming contest, creating a tidal wave of awareness about the team's move to Hartford and its new name.
Solomon said, "it’s not a traditional name" and that "creative, unique, and funky" names have worked in other markets to engage the public, including many fans who at least initially did not have an interest in baseball.
Cloud, however, said the name is "neither creative, or unique," and even used the word "absurd" to describe the new name of the current Rock Cats.
Cloud said "Yard Goats" is insensitive to people in the city’s Caribbean community, many of whom at one time or another may have owned or tended goats.
He noted that even though the term "Yard Goats" actually refers to something in a railroad yard, its connection and tie to Hartford is "minimal at best," saying he was "shocked to learn that was the name" and is "not pleased at all."
Solomon responded during the meeting that it was not the group's "intention to offend."
After the meeting, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters asked Solomon if he had anything else to say about Cloud’s comments.
He said "people are passionate" about sports and team names, and this name is "really about engaging kids, and the engagement in the naming process produced a buzz that was palpable in Hartford" when people voted in favor of the Yard Goats.
"He has a right to his opinion," Solomon said of Cloud. "We feel very comfortable with the selection of the name. ... It will not impact the relationship with [Adam] Cloud. It’s good to see people passionate about the name. ... We fully expected to receive some flack about it."
Solomon told the Hartford Stadium Authority the team expects to unveil a logo in 35 to 40 days.