Review by Gary
Located in an office park near Norwich, CT, but far from anything in particular, lies Senator Thomas Dodd Memorial Stadium, former home of the Norwich Sea Unicorns of the old NY-Penn League, though they bore the significantly more respectable name of Connecticut Tigers when I visited.
Open since 1995, this ordinary looking ballpark first hosted the Eastern League’s Norwich Navigators / Connecticut Defenders until they moved to Richmond to become the Flying Squirrels in 2010. The Hartford Yard Goats (formerly the New Britain Rock Cats) played here for one season in 2016 until their awesome new stadium was ready in downtown Hartford. This team arrived in 2010 and has been here since, nicknamed the Tigers, in spite the giant 8-foot navi-“gator” that greets fans upon arrival. Perhaps a tight budget prohibits the vintage mascot from being replaced with a more apt striped feline mascot.
Dodd Stadium is a serviceable home for Detroit’s farm team during the short summer season. On my visit, I attended an 11:30am Camp Day Game that saw, first, the completion of a rain suspended game from the night before. With a 30-minute break between games, I sampled some of the local fare from the concession stand. Pondering why the players needed a break after completing the final 3 innings of one game before playing a 7-inning second game, I was soon wondering why I chose to eat pulled pork nachos in 88 degree heat with no shady place to sit other than the covered picnic areas way down both foul lines.
Of note at Dodd Stadium are the numerous empty and upended cable spindles used as tabletops. Since no one was using these “hard tops”, it took me a moment to figure why Connecticut Light and Power would have just dumped these spools on the concourse. The super-sized Adirondack Chair on the left field concourse faces away from the field and is an inviting Kodak Photo Op for any brave soul who chooses to climb up on the splintery seat.
The Connecticut Tigers’ logo is a clever variation on the parent team’s famous “D” and this “C” is noticeable throughout the park. I doubt the Tigers’ fans fill many of the 6,270 seats on any given night and the venue probably has no problem maxing out for concerts and WrestleMania events, but as a minor league park, it lacks that charm that it’s contemporaries offer.