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Official Review by Matt Fiedler, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
New Britain Stadium has been the home of the Rock Cats since 1996. The stadium sits right behind the New Britain high school football stadium. The team had been the minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins from 1995-2014. In 2015, the Rock Cats became the AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The team has had many great players come through over the years. They include Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, and David Ortiz.
The team will be leaving New Britain Stadium at the conclusion of the 2015 season. The team is moving to Hartford and will be known as the Hartford Yard Goats. The team will be moving into a brand new stadium that is part of the redevelopment of land in the Hartford area. The park will be named Dunkin' Donuts Park and has a planned capacity of 9,000 fans. So if you want to enjoy a Rock Cats game, you better get out to New Britain Stadium this year!
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
New Britain Stadium has all of the ballpark staples, and it also has some unique offerings. The lines are very quick to go through, and the service is very efficient. There are stands that offer your usual stadium fare. Local soft serve ice cream is also available. The prices are reasonable for minor league baseball. Hot dogs ($3.00), hamburgers ($5.25), and pretzels ($3.75) are just some of the offerings at New Britain Stadium. New Britain Stadium sometimes brings in local restaurants to showcase some of their food. Bear's BBQ in Hartford was at the game and they had some great sandwiches. New Britain Stadium sells Pepsi products in both bottles and fountain varieties. As far as alcohol goes, beer and wine are both served. Sam Adams is available, as well as Bud Light. Overall, New Britain Stadium offers a solid variety of choices that are quite affordable.
The atmosphere at the stadium is what you would expect out of a minor league club. It is a very kid friendly atmosphere with many on field promotions and giveaways. There are many theme nights as well, these include Star Wars night and Minions night. There is an on field personality who gets the crowd pumped up and gets the kids into it. It is a good place to bring the kids for a baseball game. There is even an area in left field where kids can go on inflatable slides for $5. New Britain used to be the home of the Minnesota Twins minor league club, but is now the Colorado Rockies. Around the stadium you can still see many remnants of the Twins. From the color scheme to the photos of former players, it is hard to tell that this is the Rockies minor league team.
The area around New Britain Stadium is not very memorable. Although it is better than some other areas of the city. There are a few local restaurants in the area, but other than that it is pretty empty. If you drive about 15 minutes north you can find the capital of Connecticut, Hartford. There are many great things to do in Hartford. You can check out some great restaurants, entertainment, and other sporting events like UCONN basketball and Hartford Wolfpack hockey. Adjacent to New Britain Stadium is Veterans Memorial Stadium where the New Britain High School football team plays. Also in the complex is Beehive Stadium, the former home of the New Britain Red Sox, where the New Britain High School baseball team now plays.
In general, the Rock Cats attract mostly families and that is clear when attending a game. There are many kids and families enjoying the game. There are the diehard fans out there as well. The Rock Cats are in the bottom half of attendance in the Eastern League. They average about 3,800 fans per game. The capacity of the stadium is around 6,000. The fans are a pretty run of the mill bunch. They get loud during big moments and when the PA announcer instructs them to. It is by no means a rabid fan base. As far as AA baseball goes, this is a pretty typical fan base.
New Britain Stadium is very accessible. It is right off of Route 9, and is very easy to see and get to. There is a large parking lot that fans can park in, and even if you park in the back it is still a short walk to the stadium. The only downside is that there is not very much public transportation in the area. The bathrooms on the concourse are very accessible and usually have no lines at them. The concourse is wide and very easy to walk through. There is not much congestion so it is not difficult to get around. Overall, the park is fairly easy to get to, but public transportation is sparse.
The Rock Cats have very affordable prices. Considering a lot of great young talent has come through New Britain, getting to see these players at such low prices is a great thing. The highest ticket price is $22. General admission tickets can be obtained for $6 if you call ahead, or $8 on game day. Field level seats cost only $14. The prices are truly what a minor league ballpark should be. When you add in the cost of food and parking, it will not hurt your wallet. An affordable minor league ballpark with great baseball is all you can really ask for.
One star goes to the great Road to the Show display that the Rock Cats have. There is a wall that shows each player that has played for the Rock Cats and has made it to the big leagues. The year the player made it to the MLB is shown on the chart.
A second star goes to the way the Rock Cats honor the greats who have come from New Britain. Players like Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, and Justin Morneau are all featured prominently with large banners. It is just odd to see all of the Twins history when the team is now affiliated with the Rockies.
A final star goes to the very good scoreboard they have in left field. The graphics are clear and sharp. The scoreboard gives basic information and looks great!
The city of New Britain will be saying goodbye to the Rock Cats at the end of the season. New Britain Stadium is definitely a place you should check out before the Rock Cats move. It is a place with great history, great baseball, and great prices.
Member Review by jmmanc
Though no Major League Baseball teams play anywhere near central Connecticut, that hasn't stopped the New Britain Rock Cats from bringing competitive baseball and a family atmosphere to southern New England.
New Britain Stadium was built in 1996 to house the Rock Cats, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Currently, the Rock Cats are the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
The ballpark, which holds 7,489, is part of the Willow Brook Park athletic complex and is situated right next to a football field. The stadium complements the quaint town of New Britain nicely.
New Britain Stadium itself is a typical minor league ballpark with great fan amenities from the non-stop family entertainment activities to the affordable food and beverages. Trees abound beyond the left field fence, giving the ballpark a secluded feel, and adding a touch of New England to the overall experience.
Visiting New Britain Stadium may not be the same as going to a Major League stadium, but it definitely satisfies the baseball needs of those not wanting to travel to New York or Boston.
Member Review by shamus170 on May 04, 2013
The New Britain Rock Cats franchise has a long history in the Eastern League, and the team’s roots in Connecticut began ten miles away in nearby Bristol. That’s where the Red Sox farm team played in the 1970s and early 80s, at quaint and venerable Muzzy Field. Ownership then moved the team to New Britain in 1983 to a new ballpark called Beehive Field. Remarkably, this ‘new’ stadium was an ugly, bare-bones ballpark that turned out to be quite an eyesore and downgrade from Muzzy. After only 12 years, the ballpark was obsolete and a new one was needed, which is where New Britain Stadium comes in.
The field was completed in 1996 right next door to The Beehive, and the new stadium certainly fit the mold of the retro ballpark design era. As for the Red Sox, they wanted to move their franchise closer to home base in Massachusetts and after owner Joe Buzas became a bit of a local hero by saying no, the Red Sox took their team to Trenton, while Minnesota came in as the affiliate. This is a partnership that is now approaching two decades, and in a state that has torn allegiances to Major League teams, there is another team in the Twins that folks in Central Connecticut also keep an eye on. As for the stadium experience, they are doing some good things in Hardware City, and though the ballpark is not the top of the class in the Eastern League, it is very much a worthy place to visit.
Member Review by woof on May 08, 2015
Just went to a game on May 6th, 2015. The team is great and the food is awesome. Baseball in education day was very cool.
510 Main St
New Britain, CT 06053
264 S. Main St.
New Britain, CT 06051
56 Lexington St
New Britain, CT 06052
65 Columbus Blvd.
New Britain, CT 06051
400 New Britain Ave
Plainville, CT 06062
2553 Berlin Turnpike
Newington, CT 06111