Tim Restall Recaps the Hartford Yard Goats First Season
This past season, Hartford was transformed with the opening of the new Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home to the Yard Goats baseball team. Every time there was a home game, you could feel the energy in the air. Everyone was excited to support a local Hartford team.
And now, even with the season over, the stadium continues to create buzz with exciting fall events like the G.O.A.T Brew Fest.
We met with the Yard Goats President, Tim Restall, to find out his thoughts about this season’s performance, the Park’s impressive accolades, and to get a sneak peek into upcoming events and the ‘18 season.
Bringing a Change to Hartford
For anyone who’s been to a Yard Goats game, you know the game offers way more than just baseball.
“Our half times have nothing to do with baseball, we never talk about our record, prospects, or who we are affiliated with. That’s not what we want to lead with, we want to lead with the experience.”
As soon as the stadium was up and running, a destination was created in Hartford, Tim said. It was something shiny and new that people could come to, enjoy, and be proud of – it’s an unforgettable experience in downtown Hartford. And the public agreed; Dunkin’ Donuts Park has won two awards, including ‘best Double-A ballpark in the country.’
“It’s amazing how the season took off, seeing all the people come on a Monday night in August is great, we’re very fortunate that we had a good year.”
The Loyal Yard Goats Fans
When Tim and his team were going through the logo design and team name they knew they wanted to create a team for Hartford’s younger generation, they wanted the fans to be able to say,
“This is my team. The Whalers was my father’s team, but the Yard Goats – that’s my team.”
And, the Yard Goats fans are extremely proud of their team. Even in the 9th inning when they’re down by 5 runs, everyone is still cheering – that’s something you can’t find anywhere else. “They’re very proud and loyal to the team and they’re great supporters,” Tim said.
Tim compared the Yard Goats games to the neighborhood parties back in the 50’s with charcoal grills and a lively crowd, “the ballpark is like a neighborhood, where people are going to have a good time, they’re going to have an experience, to have fun.”
Beer, Baseball, and BBQ
Never mind the price, but the selection of the beer at the Yard Goats games aided in the experience, Tim said. We asked him his all-time favorite CT beer and not surprisingly, he chose Hooker Brewery’s “Nectar of the Goats,” a session pale ale. And his favorite snack to pair with it? Bear’s BBQ “Mac attack”, of course.
Unbeatable Yard Goats SWAG
We all know that the Yard Goats have some unbeatable merchandise, so we wanted to hear from Tim himself which piece of merch is his favorite.
“When we announced the ten names for the team, we grabbed kids from the local Hartford school and before we started off the press conference, I put this foam hot dog hat on. That was my favorite… we also have goat horns and other oversized foam hats. It’s all about the fun.”
A Proud Moment
Tim has a lot to be proud of from this past season, but one of his favorites from the season was the “Hartford Neighborhood Flavors” kiosk.
From Comerio’s authentic Puerto Rican cuisine to BK Chicken & Waffles, each night the kiosk rotated with different Hartford restaurants. This gives these local businesses some exposure, and to get their product into the ballpark. “When we first started, every restaurant would come up to us asking us if they could sell their food at the ballpark, so we came up with this kiosk idea. I believe this is the first ballpark in the country to do something like this.”
A Sneak Peak Into Next Season
We asked Tim to give a little sneak peak about what we can expect from the Yard Goats next season. While we didn’t get any top secret information out of him, he did tell is that they’re still in the planning stages.
“After a great year, our vision and goal is to raise the bar every single year.” But, what the fans can expect are a lot of new items. The team is already picturing new graphics and sound effects in the stadium, and have been discussing making modifications in certain areas to make them even more, fan friendly.
G.O.A.T Brew Fest
And until then, Dunkin’ Donuts Park will be holding several events, such as the G.O.A.T Brew Fest coming up on October 21st, which will highlight over 30 breweries, along with specialized Brew Fest foods, games and live music from The Bus Drivers. Get your tickets here before they sell out – Tim said they are going fast!!