In recent comments, Eastern League president Joe McEacharn took the opportunity to praise both the Hartford Yard Goats and Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
At this time last year, there was a great deal of uncertainty and controversy surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts Park and its construction process. Construction had ceased at the ballpark, and the Yard Goats were continuing to play out a season that would ultimately see all of their home games scheduled outside of Hartford.
In light of those circumstances, McEacharn urged Hartford officials last August to finish the ballpark’s construction, stating “If the stadium is not done, we will not come to Hartford. The time is now. We have to have immediate action.” Construction did eventually resume in the fall, and the goal of opening the facility by April 13 of this year was met.
In the months since its opening, the Yard Goats have been able to establish themselves at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. During an interview with The Hartford Courant, McEacharn took time to reflect on the struggles of completing the ballpark, but was clear in his pleasure with both the Yard Goats operations and their home ballpark:
“It has worked out so well in all regards. The impact and embrace from the community, the economic success of the team, the business community standing behind the team, the Spanish-speaking radio and community programs in place. It’s just fabulous,” McEacharn said. “The stadium is second to none, a modern-day standard that people will turn to. It has something for everyone. It’s much more than a place to watch a ballgame. It’s a community gathering spot.
“I see everything there is to see about the ballpark and I barely even remember all the pain. The reward has been so great that you look forward and never in the rear view mirror anymore.”
The process in 2016 was undoubtedly a frustrating one for all involved–including the Eastern League–but there is no denying that Dunkin’ Donuts Park has made a strong impression in its debut season. It even won our Best of the Ballparks 2017 vote for the Double-A level.