Remember when the Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium would open in early April and we all would freeze while still enjoy great baseball?
And then in a mid-week daytime game in May, the stadium would be packed with screaming kids for a DARE day morning game.
Well no one minds that the Connecticut Tigers' home opener is June 20, when summer sun is coming on strong. But this spring will be full of good baseball at Dodd Stadium, and I for one am looking forward to it.
It starts April 7 with a high school game, St. Bernard vs. Montville, continues with more high school games on April 9, 11, 12 and 13. Then Norwich Little League will have its opening ceremonies there April 14. More high school games follow on April 16, 18 and 20.
An exciting UConn baseball team arrives April 21 for a game against Rutgers. UConn features pre-season All American LJ Mazzilli at second base. Yes, he's former Major Leaguer Lee Mazzilli's son. Slugger Ryan Fuller of Old Lyme plays first base and starting pitcher Brian Ward of Milford is outstanding.
DARE kids throughout the region will return to Dodd and get their look at the UConn Huskies May 15 with an 11 a.m. game vs. University of Rhode Island.
Here's a twist. On April 24, Boston College will play St. John's at Dodd Stadium. Tigers General Manager CJ Knudsen said Boston College called him to ask if the stadium was available for a neutral site game.
"Word is getting out that we have an outstanding playing surface," Knudsen said. "We're excited about it."
Last Friday, Norwich officials asked Coast Guard Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz to increase the academy's presence in Norwich, perhaps with a baseball game at Dodd Stadium. How about two? The academy will play a doubleheader vs. Mitchell College at Dodd April 25.
Ten days later, UConn comes back for its own doubleheader at Dodd on May 5 vs. Cincinnati.
Dodd also will host the Northeast Conference college baseball tournament May 16 through May 20 and then the Eastern Connecticut Conference high school tournament at the end of the month.
So get your jackets, hats and gloves and come to Dodd Stadium this spring for some great baseball. Then stay for a summer of the same as the Tigers take the field.
"It's been a busy winter, and we can't wait for the sun to shine on the Dodd Stadium field this spring," Knudsen said.