Hartford Yard Goats play home opener Tuesday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, first game in park in 17 months

Sports

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Hartford Yard Goats home opener is Tuesday night. It’s the first time the team is playing at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in 621 days.

The Goats are hosting the Portland Sea Dogs – the Red Sox AA affiliate.

The game is sold out with limited seating for social distancing restrictions. They are at 50% capacity for Tuesday night’s game, which means about 3,000 fans will be filing into the stands to cheer on the Yard Goats.

RELATED: Extreme Foods for the 2021 season at Dunkin’ Donuts park unveiled; includes old favorites, new must-haves

We spoke with the President of the Yard Goats Tim Restall before the game: “It’s been a long long time. Obviously, 2020 was a very difficult year, but it’s very exciting to have the team back in town, hear the crack of the bat, hear fans coming back to the ballpark…Very exciting to welcome fans back.”

WEB EXTRA: We spoke to the Voice of the Yard Goats, play-by-play broadcaster Jeff Doole, ahead of Tuesday’s first pitch

“This is awesome,” Dooley told us. “August of 2019 was the last time the Goats played a home game. We’re just so thrilled to celebrate Opening Day with our fans tonight. It’s been tough going a season without playing…Hopefully we’re part of people’s routine and we can bring people back to some normalcy.”

Some extra special guests kicked off the game. Two nurses from Hartford Hospital sang the National Anthem. Their performance representing nurses who have never wavered as they fought against COVID-19.

“The fact that the whole state is just starting to open up again, it’s just very exciting. And the fact that we got to represent the nurses of Hartford Hospital, let alone all the nurses of Connecticut was pretty amazing,” they told News 8.

RELATED: COVID vaccinations to be offered at some Hartford Yard Goats games in May

Hartford Healthcare’s mobile vaccination teams also on hand Tuesday to vaccinate eligible baseball fans.

COVID-19 vaccines were offered to the sold out crowd Tuesday. They will continue to be offered at select home games throughout the month.

Maggie Bahre of Hartford Healthcare told News 8, “It’s really important that we come together and protect each other and take care of each other. I think that’s something everyone has really learned over the past year, you really need to look out for one another.”

And there are some pretty good perks if you get the vaccine at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. You’ll get a gift card to Dunkin’ plus four free tickets to a future Goats game!

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