Dear Adam Cloud: “Yard Goats” is the definition of unique. Also, your argument that the name is offensive is absurd.

If you haven’t heard, the New Britain Rock Cats – the Colorado Rockies Double A affiliate – are moving to Hartford and have been renamed The Yard Goats.

The Yard Goats get their name from an old railroad slang term for an engine that switches a train to get it ready for another locomotive (thus harkening back to Hartford’s supposed railroad roots), but the goat will most assuredly play a role in the marketing of the team.

The naming was done via fan voting and revealed a couple weeks ago. 


The Yard Goats is a great name. Perfectly befitting the kitchiness of minor league baseball. The Yard Goats will be perfect alongside such teams as the Savannah Sand Gnats, the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Casper Ghosts, and the Albuquerque Isotopes.   


Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud, who sits on the board of the Hartford Stadium Authority, doesn’t agree with me. He doesn’t like the name one bit. He’s not happy.  

I have no beef with Cloud for not liking the name. My wife doesn’t like the name, either. She was hoping for the Honey Badgers, and for good reason.

About a third of my students don’t like the name.

It’s admittedly an eclectic name.

What I take issue with is Adam Cloud’s comments regarding the name.

Cloud said the name is "neither creative, or unique."

We could argue the merits of the name based upon creativity (though it’s hard to argue that it’s not at least a little creative), but he couldn’t be more wrong in his assertion that the name is not unique.

It’s absolutely unique. No other sports franchise in the world is name the Yard Goats.

That, Mr. Cloud, is the definition of unique.

Cloud also said that Yard Goats is an “absurd” name and is insensitive to people in the city’s Caribbean community, many of whom at one time or another may have owned or tended goats.

That statement, Mr. Cloud, is far more absurd than the team’s new name.

How could using the name of an animal that a person may have owned at one time possibly be offensive to that former owner? The use of the name in no way impugns the current or former owners of said animal. In fact, if anything, the animal is being elevated to celebrity status by the naming.

Should owners of horses, which also eat grass, be offended by the Denver Broncos’ or Indianapolis Colts’ choice of names?

Should the owners of sheep, which also eat grass, be offended by the St. Louis Ram’s choice of name?

Should the parents of twins, which hopefully don’t eat grass (but might), be offended by the Minnesota Twins choice of name? Yes, the Twins are actually named after the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but the Yard Goats are named after a type of train. If Cloud can conveniently ignore that reality, why shouldn’t the parents of twins also ignore the origins of the Twins name and feel similarly outraged?

There’s nothing wrong with hating the name, Mr. Cloud. My wife doesn’t like it either, and I don’t think any less of her for this opinion.

But the reason she doesn’t like the name?

She thinks it’s dumb. You probably do, too. But in defending her position, my wife doesn’t make any ridiculous claims about the name being offensive to goat owners or failing to be unique. It’s simply a matter of taste.

You don’t like the name. Too bad. Don’t spout nonsense. You sound ridiculous.

Yard Goats for life.

A good old fashioned book mobile!

Look what we found in the midst of a poorly advertised festival in downtown Hartford last weekend:

An actual book mobile!

Operated by Penguin Books, it was a joy to see for both me and my daughter, who immediately picked up a book from the children’s section and asked her mother to read to her.

We need more of this. We need a lot more of this.

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Another Speak Up date added to the calendar

Please mark your calendars! Again!

Our next Speak Up storytelling event is on Saturday, September 28 at 7:00 PM at Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT. The theme of the night is Schooled: Lessons Taught and Lessons Learned.

This week we added Saturday, November 9 to the calendar for our third storytelling event. Same time and same place.

The theme of the night has yet to be determined.

Our goal is to produce 4-6 shows a year.  

Speak Up is an evening of storytelling open to the general public. Eight storytellers will take the stage to tell true stories on an assigned theme. Each storyteller has an 8 minute time limit and will tell their story without the use of notes. This is a curated show, meaning that my wife and I choose the storytellers for each event.

Our goal is to handpick about half of the storytellers for each event from a stable of storytellers who we already know and choose the other half from new storytellers who will have the opportunity to pitch their stories to us.

If you’re interested in pitching us a story, stay tuned. The process will be explained shortly once everything is in place.


I brought my son home from the hospital and found myself in the midst of Hartford’s Puerto Rican parade.

When I picked up my newborn son from the hospital on Sunday and finally brought him and my wife home, I had the unexpected pleasure of driving through Hartford’s Puerto Rican Day parade in order to get to and from the hospital. In doing so, I learned a great deal about this parade, which I never even knew existed until Sunday.

Among the more memorable observations:

  1. In truth, I didn’t drive through the actual parade, which began at 11:00 AM and finished well before 1:00 PM. I arrived in the neighborhood around 2:00 PM, and although the marching bands and parade floats had been gone for more than an hour, the Puerto Rican people had taken to the streets in cars decked out with the Puerto Rican flag and commenced an impromptu, amoeba-like extension of the parade that oozed its way into every corner of the neighborhood.
  2. I’ve never seen people more excited about a parade. The amount of pride that Puerto Ricans possess for their cultural heritage is second to none.
  3. Automobile safety, particularly in terms of seatbelts and the general practice of keeping the humans inside the vehicle, is apparently optional, and perhaps even frowned upon, on the day of the parade. I saw vans packed with humanity driving down streets with children as young as 7 or 8 years old hanging out of the vehicle by one arm. I saw a guy driving his Toyota Corolla in traffic with his head protruding through the sun roof. I saw children standing in the backs of moving pick-up trucks and lying prone on the hoods of moving cars. I saw a car drive by with its trunk popped open. Stuffed inside, waiving tiny Puerto Rican flags, were at least half a dozen people, twisted together in what appeared to be a human version of the Gordian knot.
  4. The constant, incessant blaring of car horns was apparently required by anyone driving a car with a Puerto Rican flag affixed to it. This constant blaring was often augmented by the use of trumpets, vuvuzelas and drums, all stuffed within the confines of these vehicles.
  5. Though the were streets were filled with these loud, overstuffed vehicles, nary a pedestrian could be found. Bizarre. 
  6. Traffic lights served only as suggestions following the parade. I quickly learned to drive through intersections at my own risk.
  7. Clothing above the waist is optional for both men and women.

I’ll have to remember to tell Charlie about this last one when he is old enough to appreciate it.