I am so, so sorry for getting so preoccupied with the NFL-to-L.A. stuff yesterday that I neglected to keep you up to date with the Hartford Yard Goats saga. For those who need a reminder, at last report it went something like: Hartford city council approves spending $60 million plus free land on a new minor-league baseball stadium to get the New Britain Rock Cats to relocate from a few miles away, team gives itself a new name that’s even more ridiculous, ballpark goes $10 million over budget and everybody points fingers on who’s to blame and refuses to pay for it. Now, the other shoe has finally dropped:
The city’s new, $56 million minor league ballpark is not likely to be completed by opening day on April 7, and baseball officials are already making alternative plans for where the Yard Goats will play their first home games, Hartford’s stadium authority was told Tuesday.
The latest word is that the construction schedule could be dragged out for an additional four to six weeks, forcing the Yard Goats to start their season with a month-long road trip. (Other teams have done worse.) That would only save $1.7 million, though, and unless somebody fills the resulting budget hole, the team still wouldn’t have a stadium to play in even starting in May.
The lesson here is … oh, man, there are lots of lessons, but for now let’s just go with “make sure your stadium lease agreement has real specific language about who’s responsible for cost overruns and rush charges.” Though it would actually be kind of hilarious for the Yard Goats to have to go slinking back to New Britain, somebody else is already sleeping in their old bed, so that’s probably out.