A fairly minor blurb appeared in the Denver Post this morning: David Dahl, the Rockies rookie outfielder, has been benched for a few days running. Why? Fatigue. Having been in the lower levels of the minors until this year, it’s his longest season ever. It’s understandable that he’d be gassed.
But there was something else gassing him too: he played 76 games for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats. A team without a home ballpark.
We talked about the Yard Goats’ situation before the season began. At the time there were disputes about the completion of their new publicly-funded ballpark which inspired the franchise to move from New Britain. The opening was delayed. The disputes have continued all year, however, construction stopped and the park still sits uncompleted. That led to the Yard Goats playing their entire 141 game schedule on the road.
The Yard Goats did alright all things considered, finishing 74-67. And certainly Dahl played well, slugging .500 and leading the team in homers despite playing in only a little over half of their games. Still, you have to wonder if being on the road for all of that time took some of the wind out of his sails. And the sails of other Rockies prospects, many of whom played the whole season riding busses.
All because of the politics of getting a city to pay for a new ballpark.