Hartford is the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The team had played in New Britain, Conn. for the last 32 years as the New Britain Red Sox, the Hardware City Rock Cats and the New Britain Rock Cats.
I’m not sure how they will go over with kids today, but I’m pretty sure Chompers and Chew Chew would have terrified me as a child.
Hartford opens their inaugural season as the Yard Goats on April 7th against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. You can already purchase a selection of merchandise from their online shop.
We’re in the middle of the annual period where minor league baseball teams can change which major league organization they are affiliated with if their agreements have expired. This year, there seems to be a bit more activity than usual.
You can read Josh Levanthal‘s rundown of all the changes at Baseball America, but I’m just going highlight the changes that might be of interest to us in the New Jersey area.
The Colorado Rockies signed a two-year Player Development with the New Britain (Conn.) Rock Cats of the Double-A Eastern League. New Britain had been affiliated with the Minnesota Twins for the past 20 years. The Rockies had their original Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League, the New Haven Ravens, from 1994-98. (New Britain visits Trenton for a four-game series Aug. 31 – Sept. 3, 2015)
Congratulations to Trenton Thunder players Matt Tracy, Ben Gamel, Peter O’Brien and Gary Sanchez who were selected for the Eastern League All-Star Game on Monday. The Altoona Curve will host the game on Wednesday, July 16, at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Several of the New York Yankees’ top prospects are included in the 36-card set, including Sanchez, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, Manny Banuelos, Bryan Mitchell, and O’Brien. You also get a card featuring Trenton Thunder mascots Boomer, Derby and Rookie, and a tribute card for the team’s original bat dog, Chase, who died last year.
The cards again feature action photos with the original background removed and replaced with a generic gray background featuring the Thunder logo. While this is a very striking look the first time you see it, the concept gets a bit tired after using it for several years in a row. How about a more traditional design next year, guys?
One week from tonight, the Trenton Thunder will begin the 2014 season as the defending Eastern League champions. The first 2,000 fans (ages 6+) through the gates on Thursday, April 3rd, will receive one of these replica trophies. For ticket information, visit www.trentonthunder.com.
Tony Franklinwill return for his 8th season as the manager of the Trenton Thunder, the team announced today. The Eastern League Manager of the Year in 2012, Franklin won his third league title last year and holds the franchise record for most managerial victories and most games managed.
“Tony Franklin is a great asset to the Thunder and our community,” said Thunder General Manager Will Smith in a press release. “The success that we’ve enjoyed on the field during his tenure is unprecedented and we’re excited to see Tony back to defend last season’s championship.”
Tommy Phelps, who played for the Florida Marlins from 2003-04 and the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005, will return for his sixth season as Trenton’s pitching coach.
The rest of the coaching staff will have a different look to it in 2014.
Ten-year major league veteran Marcus Thames is the new Thunder hitting coach. Although he spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers, he made his major league debut with the New York Yankees in 2002 and returned near the end to play a role on the 2010 playoff team.
Longtime backup catcher Orlando Mercado, who played for the Seattle Mariners (1982-1984), Texas Rangers (1986), Detroit Tigers (1987), Los Angeles Dodgers (1987), Oakland Athletics (1988), Minnesota Twins (1989), New York Mets (1990), and Montreal Expos (1990), will also join the Thunder coaching staff.