Professional baseball began in Connecticut in 1877, and while the number and names of teams have changed, the state’s love of the game has not. While there are no major league franchises in the state, Connecticut does have four minor league teams, three of which are quite new to the game. The Hartford Yard Goats, formerly the New Britain Rockcats, played their first game this April. Their home stadium will be the new Dunkin Donuts Park, which opens Memorial Day Weekend. The New Britain Bees, who took over New Britain Stadium after the Rockcats moved to Hartford, also played their first game this season. The Connecticut Tigers are a little older, as they having been playing ball at Senator Thomas Dodd Memorial Stadium in Norwich since 2010. The fourth and oldest of the current lineup of minor league teams, the Bridgeport Bluefish, have been running the bases and filling the seats at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in their hometown since 1998. Their fans are quite vocal and very loyal, and for those who would like to see why, here is a quick fan’s guide to their home stadium.
The Ballpark At Harbor Yard
500 Main St.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
(203) 210-BLUE (2853)
The Bridgeport Bluefish are part of the Atlantic League. Their home field at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard is a relatively new and quite modern stadium, having been completed in May 1998 at a cost of $19 million. The field was the flagship of the waterfront revival program, which has helped usher in a comparative renaissance of culture, sports, arts and business to “B-Port,” the most populous city in the Nutmeg State. It has seating for 5,300, ample parking and is easily accessible by rail and car, as there is a train station nearby and the park is virtually encircled by I-95, the most heavily traveled highway on the East Coast.
A Field Of Grass
The Ballpark at Harbor Yard is a new stadium but one that was built in an old-fashioned style. The field is grass, not astroturf, and is open to the elements (there is no dome). It is well-lit with a scoreboard that is easily viewed from most sections. Batters know that it is 325 feet from the plate to the left field and right field fence, and 405 feet to the wall at Center Field.
Food And Drink
The usual hot dog, peanuts, popcorn, beer and candy vendors abound, but for those who want to sit down somewhere other than the bleachers to have a meal, the park as two restaurants, one of which, the People’s Bank Marina, features an all-you-can-eat buffet. The other, the Harbor Club, is a more comfortable, traditional silverware and linen tablecloth kind of place. There is also the Two Roads Beer Garden, which opened in 2015 and offers craft beers by the Two Roads Brewery from nearby Stratford. The park also has a pizzeria, a BBQ joint, a burger place and a juice bar. There is also the Boar’s Head Picnic Garden, sponsored by the meat packing company of the same name, as well as the United Way Cove, a playground with picnic tables and a party room where many -a- fan’s kid has celebrated their birthday.
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Admission And Season Tickets
Reserved seats are only $12, and box seats double that. They can be purchased in advance online, as well as at the box office on game day. Special packages are available for youth and student groups, especially youth baseball teams, and there are discounts as well as for companies or any organization or large family which wants to purchase a block of seats. Season tickets are available for $420 ($500 for box seats) each, but season ticket holders also receive a lot of perks, including a complimentary luxury suite for a night, VIP entrance, personalized nameplate for their seat, complimentary tickets for spring training and playoff games and even a chance to throw out the first pitch.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.