Go check out the Goats!

It took almost two seasons but we finally made it out as a family to watch the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. I’ve taken the boys a few times and we all caught a UConn baseball game earlier in the year, but we’ve never witnessed the glory of the Goats as a family.

Voted Ballpark Digest‘s Best Double-A Ballpark for the second consecutive year – the first time that’s ever happened – this beauty in downtown Hartford is a must-see if you live here or are just visiting.IMG-4097Linds signed the boys up for the Red Robin Kids Club a few months ago, giving them a chance to be part of the High Five Tunnel before last night’s game. I bought tickets a few days later and decided on the first row in the left field grandstand butting up to the visitor’s bullpen. In essence, a corner for restless boys to stand.

After finding street parking for free and in we went, where we waited with other Kids Club members until it was time to make our way to the field. While we waited, Graham had a jumbo pretzel ($4) and Austin a junior hot dog ($3) while Linds and I both scored $3 Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards to load on to the DDPerk app.

I mentioned the corner for restless kids but it’s hard to get too too bored at a minor league baseball game since there’s some sort of on-field promotion or contest every half-inning. Our boys were asked upon walking through the gates if they wanted to be in the baby goat race but they sheepishly declined – and then they saw the race happening in the 4th inning and kinda regretted their decision.

After what seemed like forever but was really only twenty-something minutes, we made our way to the field where the kids lined up outside the dugout to high-five the Goats as they made their way to their positions prior the game. Pretty cool experience.

We navigated our way through the crowded concourse to our seats, which were pretty awesome for just $9 each. The kids were calling out for Hartford’s left fielder Sam Hilliard all game, to no avail – but they had a great time trying.

In about the second inning, Austin, Graham, and I roamed the stadium for a while before heading back to the seats with a large bag of popcorn ($4).

Austin then decided the back of the LF wall was a great place to brace himself for a shit, which called for a trip to the men’s room, where THERE IS A CHANGING TABLE! All glory to the Goats!

I went and for Linds and I some beer (a Hog River ‘Hartford Pale Ale’ for her, a Hanging Hills session IPA for me) before it was her turn to roam with the two little guys.

Nolan was awesome the entire night (they all were) but he had no qualms staying in our seats, where he seemed genuinely interested in learning about baseball, which made me internally squeal with excitement.

  • Ticket Prices: A
    • Our family of 5 can get in the gates for $30, which is what you pay to park for a MLB game
      • $6 to $22: the cheapest are $6 (high top swivel chairs in the LF grandstand) while the most expensive are $22 (high top swivel chairs lining the concourse around the infield). Shit, you can get seats directly behind home plate for just $16 apiece.
  • Concessions: A-
    • Tons of reasonably priced options for food and beer unless you go for the big beers ($13), which we inevitably do
      • Standard ballpark fare: burgers, chili dogs, Cracker Jacks, fries, hot dogs, ice cream, nachos, peanuts, pizza, popcorn, pretzels, wings
      • Specialty: DDP BLT (served between two glazed donuts); Dunkin’ and Chicken Skewers (boneless wings skewered along with glazed munchkins)
      • Local fare: Bear’s BBQ along the third base concourse is always jammed; USS Chowder Pot New England Clam Chowder; Connecticut lobster roll
      • Beer: local breweries (Hanging Hills’ Short Porch Lime Lager, Hooker Brewing’s Nectar of the Goats, and Hog River‘s Hartford Pale Ale)
  • Entertainment: B+
    • A great stadium for concourse strolls when the kids get restless complete with distance markers for how far you’ve walked
      • Bounce House area: head out to dead centerfield and there’s a giant bouncy slide, pitch speed station, and basketball shooting thing. $1 per play
      • Goat Pen: real live goats, you can feed them and pet them and it’s really a pretty cool idea
  • Atmosphere: A+
    • This place always sells out or comes damn close thanks to awesome on-field promotions as well as sweet game day promotions

Overall, this park is one of if not the best ballpark I’ve ever been to and can say without hesitation it’s a must-see if you’re in the area and the Goats are on a homestand.

No Goats, No Glory!

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