These Cats rock! The Rock Cats won their last home game in New Britain Stadium Sunday as its fans and the city of New Britain says goodbye to the team that has long called the stadium home.
After 15 innings, about four hours or so of play, the Rock Cats secured a 7-5 victory for their last career home game in New Britain.
The team had an MLB All-Star playing with them in the game against the Portland Seadogs. Justin Morneau, a former American League MVP, has been on a rehab assignment, playing in New Britain all weekend. He's on loan from the Rock Cats affiliate Major League team, the Colorado Rockies
New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart was at the last game at New Britain Stadium. The Double-A minor league team is moving to Hartford next season, which was initially a point of contention in New Britain when the news first broke.
"So long, Rocky," Stewart said in a tweet, including a photo of the Double-A minor league team's beloved mascot, Rocky the Rock Cat waving.
"On behalf of the City of New Britain - THANK YOU TO OUR FANS! YOU ARE #1!" Stewart tweeted.
There's been mixed emotions about the team's move, which also includes a name change to the Hartford Yard Goats.
The team’s general manager, Tim Restall, likened it to reading a book, closing one chapter and beginning another.
The first fans arrived at the stadium at 8 a.m. Sunday morning from Boston.
Joe Secheyco said he's been to minor league games up and down New England.
"I've been to almost every minor league park in New England when it opened and if they close I go there to watch them also,” Secheyco said.
In a message to NBC Connecticut, Stewart said, "it's a bittersweet day." She thanked "all of the loyal New Britain fans who made this stadium what it has become!"
"We hope you'll come back," she said.
Will another team be moving into New Britain's stadium? That remains to be seen.
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings (sic) end...#NB #staytuned," Stewart tweeted before the game, along with a selfie with Rocky.
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Photo Credit: New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart