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Hartford Had It’s Moment This Weekend, But Will It Last?

This weekend marked the first home series for the Hartford Yard Goats, Connecticut’s newest professional sports team.

Despite being the Hartford Yard Goats last season as well, the team was forced to play all of their games outside of Hartford due to Dunkin’ Donuts Park not being built in time for the season.

In the days leading up to the game, it was announced that the 6,000 seat ball park had sold out, and 2,000 standing room only seats were being sold for $8.

It’s an optimistic sign for a city that has been looking to revitalize itself, and natives of Hartford can see it come to fruition.

“I do think this is going to help the city,” said Alexx Dennis, a 23-year old East Hartford resident who spent much of his life living in Hartford. “Although it was a long and bumpy road to finally get the stadium built, I think that it will be beneficial for the city and possibly the state as a whole in the long run. I know I’ll go to a few games this summer.” 

Residents are being cautiously optimistic about another planned revitalization of the state capital, especially after seeing many failed attempts.

“I mean, I hope. But the science center and other hotels that have been in downtown for some years now, and haven’t provided enough attraction for everyone to enjoy,” said Joel Rivera, a 27-year old Hartford resident who has spent his entire life living in the city. “The Yard Goats on the other hand, have a good chance to bring in a new crowd. I’ve seen people from all over the state in the first three games. Definitely more people who aren’t from Hartford rather than actual residents though. Which I guess is a good thing for the city.” 

But bringing in professional sports teams aren’t the only thing the city is doing to improve itself. The residents are also aware of how else the city is helping the youth.

“I think they’ve been doing a decent job as a late. For example, schools are doing a lot more for the youth than like what I had as a kid. There are new tools for better education, better after-school programs and uniforms which helps crack down on bullying in my opinion. But also a lot of people feel like it’s more gentrification going on in the city rather than actually helping. Starting in downtown Hartford and working its way out into the more urban areas,” added Rivera.
Although the team was swept by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, each game featured a large crowd. However, it is only the first three games of a long season, so the jury is still out on whether the team will have a long term positive impact on the team.