HARTFORD, June 30, 2020 – It’s no surprise to anyone that is paying attention but it is still a disappointment. The contagious COVID-19 virus has claimed another victim.
The minor league baseball season was officially cancelled on Tuesday as Minor League Baseball, the governing body of professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada and the Dominican Republic affiliated with major league baseball teams, made the call.
The Hartford Yard Goats, the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, won’t play this season at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Professional sports ground to a halt in March in the United States due to the pandemic. The PGA Tour and NASCAR were the first two professional sports to get back up and going. The PGA Tour has hosted three events, including last week’s Travelers Championship that was played without fans.
Major League Baseball has been feuding with their players union for months over a plan to safely return to action. Last week, baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed to a 60-game season with games scheduled to begin at the end of July.
The minor league baseball season typically ends the first week in September. This would have been Hartford’s fifth season and the fourth in Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Fans who purchased tickets for a 2020 Hartford Yard Goats home games will soon be contacted by a Yard Goats representative.
The Yard Goats said they would hold unique events and private rentals this summer.
The Yard Goats hosted a unique for Father’s Day in June, offering the opportunity to spend an hour on the field at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. As long as they observed social distancing, participants could play catch in the outfield, play wiffle ball, throw a football along with getting their group name on the giant videoboard.
The Yard Goats sold out their slots on Father’s Day.
The Yard Goats were taking reservations today for Dinner on the Diamond at Dunkin’ Donuts Park next weekend on Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11. The price depends on the food ordered but some of the options were lobster roll, nachos and steak tips along with traditional ballpark favorites hamburgers and hot dogs.
Dunkin’ Donuts Park attracted over one-million fans over its first three seasons in Hartford. Last season, the Yard Goats drew a franchise record 414,946 fans, including 51 sellouts, and led the entire Eastern League in total attendance for the second straight year. The Yard Goats became the first minor league baseball club in Connecticut history to attract over 400,000 plus fans in consecutive seasons.
The Yard Goats were scheduled to have a new manager this season after being led for two years by Warren Schaeffer. Chris Denorfia, who grew up in Southington, was named manager of the Yard Goats in February.
He came to the Rockies’ organization after spending last season with the Chicago Cubs as Quality Assurance Coach on manager Joe Maddon’s staff. This was to be Denorfia’s first season as a manager in professional baseball.
Denorfia played 10 years of major league baseball with Cincinnati (2005-06), Oakland (2008-09), San Diego (2010-14), Seattle (2014) and the Cubs (2015). The former outfielder finished his playing career in the Rockies system at Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017.
Denorfia graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford before playing at Wheaton College (Norton, MA), where he was a NCAA Division III All-American, and drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th round in 2002.
After his playing career, Denorfia, 39, joined the Cubs front office as a Special Assistant to the President/GM in 2018.
In 10 major league seasons, he batted .272 with 103 doubles, 17 triples, 41 home runs, 196 RBI and 56 stolen bases in 808 games. Denorfia helped the Cubs reach the National League Championship Series in 2015. Denorfia played for Italy during the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic and batted a combined .387 in eight games across the two tournaments.