When the Hartford Yard Goats take up residence at the new Dunkin’ Donuts Park later this spring, they will continue to be a Double-A farm team of the National League’s Colorado Rockies, which run one of major league baseball’s top 10 farm systems, according to a pre-season analysis by the website minorleagueball.com. At the top of the rankings – the “elite” organizations – are the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers. The next five, described as organizations that “should be considered very productive with a chance to move into the top group soon,” include the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros. The New York Yankees farm system was ranked at #13.
The Hartford Yard Goats Double-A baseball club will launch its inaugural season at home in Hartford on May 31, a delayed opening due to stadium-construction delays. The team will begin its season playing on the road in April and May. The Yard Goats will play the Boston Red Sox affiliate Portland Seadogs in June and July of 2016, the New York Yankees affiliate Trenton Thunder in August, and the Binghamton Mets in July and August.
When they finally arrive home, it appears that the Rockies-Yard Goats relationship will not be short-lived. This week, the Colorado Rockies announced a player-development contract extension for another two years with the Hartford Yard Goats. It will keep the two teams together through the 2018 season. The original agreement signed in the fall of 2014 was set to expire at the conclusion of this season.
The Yard Goats recently announced the addition of a third founding sponsor. Stamford's Frontier Communications, which has expanded its Connecticut telecom offerings through its $2 billion acquisition of AT&T landline assets last year, will pay an undisclosed sum for the right to display its signage inside and outside the $66 million stadium under construction in the Downtown North neighborhood.
The company's name will also be on the Frontier Communications Stadium Club, and the deal includes provision of free Wi-Fi for fans at home games. Frontier joins founding sponsors Travelers and The Hartford Financial Services Group. In addition, Dunkin' Donuts owns the naming rights to the stadium.
Playing last season as the New Britain Rock Cats, the team finished with a record of 69-71, a fourth place spot in the six-team Eastern League’s Eastern Division.
The Hartford Yard Goats have also announced that all 142 games (home and away) will be broadcast live on News Talk 1410AM (WPOP) and will be available for fans to listen on iHeartRadio. News Talk 1410AM will serve as the Yard Goats flagship station over the next three seasons, through 2018. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Dooley will be the "Voice of the Yard Goats" and lead play-by-play announcer for the games.