In early April, I went to the first-ever game at Hartford’s new Dunkin’ Donuts Park between Quinnipiac and the University of Hartford.
Last night, I made it to my first Hartford Yard Goats game at the stadium to see the home team play the Richmond Flying Squirrels in a match-up of AA Eastern League teams.
I had avoided Yard Goat games at Dunkin’ Donuts Park so far this season because they typically have been crowded with people wanting to see the new stadium.
Last night was the perfect combination of us not having anything going on, an early weekday game after a holiday, the kids are still in school and the weather, while not awful, was poor enough that it would keep some folks away.
As expected, it was a small crowd which gave me the opportunity to move around a bit.
Hartford scored five runs in the third and three more in the fourth to break it open en route to a 12-2 victory.
It’s not often that you see the team on the good side of a 12-2 margin get outhit, but that’s what happened last night, with the Flying Squirrels out-hitting Hartford nine-to-seven. But the Yard Goats took advantage of 12 Richmond walks.
Hartford hit one home run late in the game, which meant that steam erupted from the large Dunkin’ Donuts cup atop the Left Field scoreboard. I was a little late in taking the picture, but you can still see a little steam left over.
For whatever reason, I decided to try and get Richmond’s lineup card, which I knew was risky given the lopsided loss. I am not sure what I was thinking because we already have a Richmond dugout lineup card from 2015. Richmond manager Kyle Haines did respond to my request, but told me he had promised it to someone else.
I was very fortunate to at least get the official batting order cards from the home plate umpire.
Neither team has any elite prospects. Andrew Suarez was a second round pick for the Giants, but didn’t pitch in this game. The same goes for Rockies’ 2nd round pick Ryan Castellani. Yard Goat first baseman Ryan McMahon was also a 2nd round pick back in 2013 and is hitting .326 for the Goats.
2017: 15 lineup cards (5 dugout/bullpen; 9 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 136 lineup cards (92 dugout/bullpen; 41 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)
The Richmond Flying Squirrels came to New Britain the first weekend in May and it worked out well.
I was able to get the Squirrels lineup card after the Friday night game. It’s one of the nicer cards we got all season, with watermarks including the Eastern League (EL) logo, Rock Cat and Flying Squirrel logos.
It was also a great game, a 1-0 Rock Cats win. The Squirrels were in the midst of a 15-game losing streak at the time, yet would still end up finishing the season with a winning record (72-68), just missing out on the EL playoffs.
Sean and I went to the May 3rd Squirrels @ Rock Cats game. We did not get a lineup card from this game, but Sean did score a broken bat from San Francisco Giants’ prospect Mac Williamson, which we were able to get signed by Williamson after he came out of the locker room. Williamson got called up to play for the Giants for a few games when Major League rosters expanded in September.
Other May lineup cards of note:
- One of the least attractive lineup cards that we got all season was from the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League. While it is a nice, big card (11” x “17) on solid cardboard stock, it is just a photo copy of the original card. It became somewhat of a collector’s item recently when it was announced that the Riversharks organization folded.
- We went to three Atlantic League games in May. Given that Atlantic League teams typically operate on a shoestring budget, the lineup cards are generally pretty dull. Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie said they keep their dugout lineup card, but was nice enough to offer us the “official” lineup cards. The Atlantic League official lineup cards, one for each team, are of the carbon copy variety and not nearly as nice as dugout lineup cards. One upside is that the official lineup cards are signed by the manager. Given that Atlantic League managers include former MLB players such as Gary Gaetti and Butch Hobson, the signatures are kind of cool.
- Speaking of Gaetti, Sean was able to get the Sugarland Skeeters lineup card from him (along with the much plainer Bridgeport Bluefish lineup card). Because of the dugout setup at the Bridgeport Bluefish stadium, Sean didn’t know that Gaett had heard him and asked again, and I guess Gaetti got a little annoyed with him. But he did give him the lineup card, and also signed it, which was cool. I got another lineup card from Gaetti in September, and he seems like a real nice guy from my short interaction with him.
Arguably one of the the nicest and most interesting lineup cards we got in 2015 was from the Harrisburg Senators (we got three Senators cards in total).
There’s a nice ‘Curly W’ watermark as the Senators are a Nationals farm team. It is also a large 11″ x 17″ (for comparison, the Rock Cats lineup card I got at the same game is 9″ x 14″) and has a glossy finish.
Also neat is the fact that one of the Senators coaches was keeping notes on the masking tape at the top of the card, tracking pitchers’ time to home plate, time to the base on a pickoff move, etc.