Los Chivos de Hartford

We couldn’t resist.

Specifically, Los Chivos de Hartford Dia Roberto Clemente. Or, if you prefer the plain old English version, The Hartford Yard Goats Roberto Clemente Day! Faith and I attended this game Friday night.

I wrote about the Yardgoats honoring Roberto Clemente, last year for #WATWB. I suppose I could have reprised that subject for Friday’s #WATWB post, but I wanted to write more than the few words, and the article I found is similar to the one I used last year. I’ll quote a bit of it though. In 2018, the Hartford Yard Goats played three games as “Los Chivos de Hartford” in support of Connecticut’s Latino population and as part of Minor League Baseball’s inaugural Copa de la Diversion campaign, which celebrates the diversity of baseball’s fanbase. Here’s a clip from that article:

“The Yard Goats have led the charge in recognizing our large Latino fan base” Yard Goats General Manager Mike Abramson said in a press release. “From our Spanish-language radio broadcast, Spanish-language pocket schedules, Spanish-language social media accounts, to Roberto Clemente’s retired number in the outfield, we work to ensure Dunkin’ Donuts Park feels like home to all our fans.”

Dunkin’ Donuts Park was mired in controversy. Opening day was delayed by a year due to construction problems. The contractor was fired, a new one was brought in to finish the job. Lawsuits have been filed, rulings have been issued, complaints have been lodged – but, the Yard Goats are finishing their second season in a ballpark that has been voted #1 in the MiLB Double-A league both years.

There are residents in Hartford and people throughout the State of CT who opposed the stadium and still feel it was a bad idea to build it. Some people in Hartford feel the cost was too high. Now that the State of CT has agreed to help Hartford solve its debt crisis (to the tune of over $500 million over the next 10-20 years) the number of critics has expanded beyond the city’s boarder.

I think it was money well spent.

When I moved to Connecticut, over 35 years ago, Hartford was a fun little city. There were stores, restaurants, bars, culture and lots of businessmen and women commuting into the city each day. Those people had already moved out to the suburbs. Suburban malls stripped the customer base from the downtown stores. Restaurants sprang up throughout the suburbs. Hartford’s light began to dim, and the city began to lose people and businesses. Being Connecticut’s capital city, the State purchased several empty office buildings. That sounds like a good thing, but it removed those buildings from Hartford’s tax base. The cultural institutions, universities, parks and many attractions also sit in Hartford without paying taxes. Like many small cities, Hartford needs an infusion of people. People who call Hartford home, and people who come into the city for things other than work.

Hartford needs entertainment.

I feel strongly that large-scale entertainment is one thing Hartford can deliver that the suburbs can’t steal. Baseball, hockey, soccer (all minor league, but all doing well), and as many special cultural events as the streets can handle. Life. Hartford needs life.

The stadium is one step in the right direction, but The Yard Goats have taken it way over the top. They have embraced the city, its residents and its current culture. Playing three games as “Los Chivos de Hartford” might seem silly, but it was fun! It wasn’t just a name change. It wasn’t just the uniforms. The entire stadium beamed and screamed “Los Chivos.” In addition to the ceremony to honor Roberto Clemente, there were dance groups entertaining us during the pregame period. The Yard Goats honored their city, and their city supported their team – that’s how baseball is supposed to be!

Los Chivos lost to the Trenton Thunder, but they played a good game. One really cool thing happened when one of our players hit a home run. At that point, steam rose out of the giant Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup above the scoreboard, and “Brass Bonanza” blared from the speakers. That was the theme song of the Hartford Whalers, an NHL Hockey team whose owners moved them to North Carolina. Love for the Whalers is still strong, and the Yard Goats honor that love and that history. The team colors mimic the colors the Whalers wore, and you can buy a jersey with a Yard Goats and a Whalers logo on it. I think the Yard Goats have done everything right, and I will be attending more games.


52 thoughts on “Los Chivos de Hartford

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  1. I’m glad to see you had a night out at the ballpark. It’s a lovely facility for a minor league team. We have a stadium in Appleton for the Timber Rattlers, but it’s not nearly as big and there’s no steaming cup of coffee. Speaking of which, I need to head to work to have one…

    Enjoy your Monday, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t follow any team in any sport. 😳 I seem to be missing the sports gene. But I get a kick out of the enthusiasm true blue sports fans have for their team(s). What I like here is the way this sport and this team brought so many of your community together for a night of fun. Impressive park!
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ginger. This team is trying so hard to call attention to the best things Hartford has to offer. I’ve been to a few games, and I will definitely be seeing more and more as time goes by. Affordable god fun. That’s hard to beat. If they add a later train, so I could get there via rail, I’d be a happy camper.

      Like

  3. Very few of your readers don’t get the baseball gene, I bet :)
    But, even though I’m not a big sport person I love the ambiance that accompanies games and I totally understand why some players can have fans. Looks like you had a great time with Faith, too, and that’s what matters most, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a great evening. When I was growing up, I saw Roberto Clement play many times. He was an amazing ball player, and he was a great humanitarian. His story is sad and wonderful at the same time. I love the fact that this local team honors one of my home town heroes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I went to a game this summer in Corpus Christi. I was totally impressed with everything going on. A Mariachi band did the Star Spangled Banner and it was fabulous. The Corpus Christi Hooks are affiliated with the Houston Astros. Several games this year they take on the name of Raspas in a nod to the cultural diversity of our area.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the team name and the photo of the three of you, too. Or would that be “of the 3 of U 2?” But I digress. I’m glad the team is helping to bring life back into Hartford. Entertainment can be one help. Others are good schools, places to live and things to do, decent grocery stores, and accessibility to health care. Who pays for stadiums and arenas is another whole ball of controversial wax, though, and one I’ll just leave untouched for now. Besides, as hot as it is here, the wax is probably melting and messy.

    Happy Monday, Dan.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right, Janet, it takes a lot more than entertainment. A lot of good housing is being created in the downtown core, but schools and grocery shopping remain an issue. Health care is accessible, and transportation is improving. There are so many moving parts.

      The stadium is supposed to anchor “Downtown North” (named because it sits north of the I-84 cut through the city). They are in negotiations with a developer to build phases 2-4 of that project, which should bring better shopping, small retail and affordable residential units to the area. It’s a long road, but at least they started moving.

      As for who pays… One way or another, we all pay.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right about the paying, but when the owners (especially in the big leagues) have so much money and then they expect the cities to pay, I’m not a fan!!! Ticket prices are ridiculous at that level as are refreshments, et al. I love the Blackhawks, but I watch games at home on TV rather than pay a small fortune just to get two tickets, drive to downtown Chicago, and park. It’s a shame.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m with you on the major leagues. This is remarkably affordable, including $5 parking across the street from the stadium.

          We do visit Pittsburgh to see Steelers, Pirates and / or Penguins, but I treat that as a vacation. Pirates tickets are also relatively cheap compared to NY and Boston. I don’t mind paying for the stadium (to a degree) but I don’t like it when cities are held hostage by teams.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. It looks like it was a fun game night. I like our local Giants team better than the pro games. They’re more downhome and do hookie stuff with audience like letting the kids try to beat a player run around bases, there’s beer batter where beer is cheaper if
    the batter does something. There’s great bbq, and it’s just a fun place.😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to go down to Pittsburgh to see a pro game every other year or so, but these games are actually more fun. The whole evening is about entertainment. The food was very good, and affordable. Parking was $5 – that’s it, $5. We didn’t stay after the game, but there were fireworks afterwards.

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  7. Hi Dan – love that it is local and plugging the local area, yet embracing all that Dia Roberto Clemente supported and set up. So glad you’ve got the stadium. Cannot get my head round baseball .. .but ne’er mind – loved the photos … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this story, Dan. It is a feel good, do something initiative that benefits everybody. And what better than baseball to do that. You really saw Roberto Clemente play when you were a kid? Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie. I think they are using the atmosphere of baseball to do some very good things in the city.

      I saw Clemente play lots of times, mostly at Forbes Field. He was an amazing player. We would go early to watch them warm up, and he would throw from the outfield to home plate like it was nothing. Those were very special years for the Pirates.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Honestly, a lot of things just flew over my head because one I don’t know much about baseball, or any other sport like basketball or golf. I’m not a sports person. In India, cricket is everything. You pick any Indian in the USA and I’m sure he loves cricket. Anyway, my point is that I still prefer playing cricket more than watching it on the TV. So, I repeat, I’m not a sports person. Also, while I was reading through the post the thought just popped in my mind about how different first world and third world country problems are. I can talk about it when we are in the bar but I’m not ranting it here. By the way, you look great in that Pirates tee. Faith looks great too. Okay one more question just came in my mind. Sorry I’m a very curious person. Personally, I don’t like watching sports in the ground. Too much noise and too many people. What do you prefer? Do you like watching the game on the TV or being in the ground?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting comment(s), Sharukh. I’ll take them out of order. I prefer watching (American) football on TV, because it’s a better view than live. But I like going to a game in person now and then. We’ve been going every other year. The social experience is worth it. Baseball is pretty boring to watch on TV. It’s a little boring in person, but being in the crowd feels good, once or twice a year. Ice Hockey is better live, because you almost have to see the whole rink to appreciate the game. I don’t follow any other sports.

      The problems in Hartford, if you did a little under the surface, are not so different. The city can’t pay its bills, which means it can.t help its poorest residents, many of whom live in substandard housing, don’t have access to decent education options and may not be able to adequately feed their families. The city needs tax revenue to survive and thrive. Entertainment brings people into the city. They pay to park, eat and be entertained, all of which are taxed.

      Like

      1. In Mumbai the problems are opposite. It is the financial, fashion and entertainment capital of India, but the city has poor road and infrastructure. Floods happen every year. The local government doesn’t care about the residents (only people help each other).

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Well that’s fun :) I’m glad you have the baseball happiness. It’s good to have these outlets.
    (Mostly I liked reading the description of how Hartford was and is and could use more life. That was very well written.)

    Liked by 1 person

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