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Yard Goats Release 2017 Sched; Solomon Offers to Pay for Ballpark Work

Hartford Yard GoatsThe Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) have released a 2017 home schedule, with an opening date for Dunkin’ Donuts Park set for April 13 — and owner Josh Solomon is willing to spend his own money to make it happen.

The Yard Goats will play their first home game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford on Thursday, April 13th (7:05 PM) against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The inaugural game in Hartford will begin a seven-game homestand with three contests against the Fisher Cats (Thursday-Saturday) and a four-game series (Monday-Thursday) against the Harrisburg Senators.

The schedule announcement comes at a time when the Yard Goats and the city of Hartford are under some pressure to make sure Dunkin’ Donuts Park opens for the 2017 season. It’s already too late in the MiLB planning cycle to move the team (and even if it weren’t, there aren’t unused Class AA ballparks out there — and no, Camden and Newark are not Class AA ballparks at this stage), so owner Josh Solomon is stepping up to lend the city the money it will take to finish the ballpark. From WNPR:

“I’m desperate,” team owner Josh Solomon said. “I don’t want the decision to be taken away from me and somebody else decide where we play next season. And I’m afraid that’s where it’s going if we don’t do something. And we’ve tried to wait and be patient, but nothing has come of it.”

There’s been no work done on the ballpark since the city shut out developers Centerplan and DoNo LLC from the project, with the city working with insurer Arch on a completion plan. But with plenty of work still to be done — IFG identified over 180 issues with the facility, some major, some for the punch list — and no solution sight, with plenty of lawsuits filed, someone needs to step up and push for a resolution. That is what Solomon is doing, out of sheer frustration — and plenty in baseball share that frustration.

RELATED STORIES: IFG: Over 180 Issues With Dunkin’ Donuts Park; Contractor: We Could Resume Hartford Ballpark in September; Work Set to Resume on New Hartford BallparkYard Goats Bring up Possibility of Leaving Hartford; Dunkin’ Donuts Park Will Not Open for 2016 SeasonFinally: Dunkin’ Donuts Park Spat Ends Up in CourtHartford, Team May Finish New Yard Goats Ballpark; Hartford Rejects Settlement Offer; Hartford Developer Pitches Ballpark Completion PlanFire Watch Unfolding at Dunkin’ Donuts ParkYard Goats Lay Off Four in Wake of Ballpark BreakdownNew Hartford Ballpark Now Insured; Hartford Ballpark Uninsurable After Developer Booted; Centerplan CEO: City Recklessly Terminated Contract; Yard Goats to Play Two Home Series in Binghamton;Tensions, Schedule Changes in Hartford; Hartford Stadium Authority Cancels Contract with Developer; When Will Hartford Ballpark Be Done? No One is Saying; Legal Issues Could Prevent Hartford Ballpark Opening This Season; New Deadline Targeted for Dunkin’ Donuts Park;Officials: New Hartford Ballpark Could Open Next Month;Hartford: We Doubt New Ballpark Will Open on Time; Dunkin’ Donuts Park Facing Potential Delay; New Hartford ballpark set for May 31 opening; Yard Goats to begin 2016 season on the road; Solomon: “Awful, depressing, disconcerting” ballpark situation; New Hartford ballpark opening delayed at least a month; New Hartford ballpark cost estimate: $10.3 million over budget; City: New Hartford ballpark may open late; Value engineering underway in Hartford

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