The Hartford Yard Goats weren’t playing, but Tuesday night’s collegiate match-up between the University of Hartford and Quinnipiac University was still important for the minor league team’s staff as they get ready for opening day on Thursday. This was a dress rehearsal.
"We had a great crowd tonight so we're excited that baseball is finally going to be played at Dunkin’ Donuts Park," said Tim Restall, the team's general manager. "It was a great first run so that we are ready on Thursday for the crowds to come in."
Jill Olinatz, from Ellington, came with her family because she couldn't get tickets for Thursday's matchup.
"We have three little ones with us today ranging from 2 to 6 and I would say that parking was easy and getting across the street felt safe," she said. "My husband keeps trying to convince me to let him buy season tickets. I don’t know if we will go that far, but we will definitely come back."
Tom Gerstenlauer, a minister at South Congregational Church in Springfield, is a season ticket holder who won't miss the opener, even though it's on Holy Thursday.
"We’re going to share communion. We’re going to worship and get ready to coast into Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday," he said. "But in between, I’m going to come down for a couple of games."
An official in the ticket office said that there were 2,400 paid fans. But 8,000 people are expected for Thursday's sellout. As more fans show up, more issues could arise.
Tuesday night, it took almost an entire inning for the giant scoreboard to work right. And, at 10:00 pm, the power went off and stayed off for about 20 minutes because the timer hadn’t been changed. That, Restall said, is why they call it a soft opening.