Among the sports on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic is Minor League Baseball. Although a lot of national media and fan interest is invested in the MLB teams, in cities and towns across the nation, it’s the MiLB that provides “real” baseball: a family-friendly atmosphere at affordable prices and players who have everything to prove.
Nowhere is that more true than in Connecticut’s capital city, home to the Hartford Yard Goats.
Opening Day here was Thursday, and rather than just let the day pass, the team went ahead with an online effort to connect with both fans and the community at large.
The “Goats Community” Twitter account showed how the team donated thousands of protective gloves and bags to a hard-hit local food bank, FoodShare.
Yard Goats donated 7,000 gloves and 2,000 bags to FoodShare. Because community counts on #OpeningDayAtHome pic.twitter.com/06UqutkqPf— GoatsCommunity (@GoYardGoats) April 9, 2020
NBC Connecticut reported the Yard Goats also provided meals to another food bank, House of Bread. The team donated another 10,000 protective gloves to the state’s first responders.
Today would have been the Hartford Yard Goats opening day. They marked the day by donating their PPE to the state donation center at @CTCorrections— CTCovid19Response (@Covid19Ct) April 9, 2020
Thank you @GoYardGoats
Please donate/Learn morehttps://t.co/Ls0TLRyGf7 pic.twitter.com/yfIKx0qLkl
Keeping in mind that the people who work off the field matter as much as the players, the Yard Goats also provided free meals to its Game Day employees on Opening Day.
Through the hashtags #OpeningDayAtHome and #MiLBAtHomeOpener, the Yard Goats joined other MiLB teams in connecting with fans via video and fan tweets to keep the spirit of Opening Day alive. Players and local news and sports media personalities recorded messages of encouragement. Even Connecticut’s governor, Ned Lamont, took part.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, kids and Goats of ALL ages. Are you ready for some baseball in downtown Hartford (at home)? #MiLBAtHomeOpener pic.twitter.com/X0awutHLpJ— GoatsCommunity (@GoYardGoats) April 9, 2020
The Yard Goats are among the most LGBTQ-friendly teams. In 2019 the team held two Pride nights, the most in the MiLB, and general manager Mike Abramson told Outsports — before the pandemic struck — that the team made plans for three Pride Nights this season: April 27, June 17, August 28. Given the continued orders for Connecticut residents to stay at home and restrictions on large gatherings, those dates are subject to change. There’s no indication when the start of the season will happen, so everything is on hold.
But if ever there was doubt that the Yard Goats have the LGBTQ community’s back, and that their good deeds have been noted by a higher power, check out this picture from April 9, tweeted less than an hour before what would have been the first pitch of 2020:
Opening Night miracle pic.twitter.com/9kIgk8vF5z— GoatsCommunity (@GoYardGoats) April 9, 2020
Until the season begins, MiLB has opened its MiLB.TV portal for free to all fans.
ICYMI: https://t.co/KBwTUr83Cq has been made free to fans until the 2020 season begins! Here are a few easy steps to get all set up: pic.twitter.com/BYo71ycKfE— GoatsCommunity (@GoYardGoats) April 10, 2020