Stadium delays force Yard Goats to start season on road

No matter the pace of construction over the next few months, the lights at Hartford's minor league baseball stadium won't be turned on come opening day.

The Yard Goats said Tuesday afternoon that they will play their April home games at opposing teams' venues. The team will play on the road until at least May 8, the announcement said.

The announcement comes one week after a contentious meeting of the Hartford Stadium Authority regarding a potential $10 million cost overrun and construction delays to the teams new downtown Hartford stadium. Team owner Joshua Solomon and Eastern League President Joe McEacharn criticized stadium developer Centerplan Cos. for its past assurances that the park would be ready for April 7, despite design changes.

Centerplan defended itself, arguing that it had been transparent about project milestones and unexpectedly higher materials costs. The company has offered to waive $1.7 million in fees.

The Yard Goats said they would still play a full 142-game schedule, which kicks off in three months in Richmond, Va.

"The Eastern League will continue to monitor the situation and will make further decisions regarding the Yard Goats home schedule as additional information becomes available," the team's statement said.