By Valerie Kazarian, Staff Writer
The Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A baseball affiliate (farm team) of the Boston Red Sox, plays regularly in Portland throughout July and August. The games are held at Hadlock Field on Park Avenue in Portland and the full schedule can be seen here. Ticket prices range from $9 for a general admission seat to $14 for a box seat.
If the July 3 home game against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies is any indication, the Sea Dogs offer the feel of a friendly, small town fair. At 5 p.m., an hour before the game begins, people are streaming in from nearby parking lots. The Bellamy Jazz Band liven up the warm evening with bouncy tones like, you guessed it, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and baseball souvenirs are sold at a long table next to the gate. People pause along the way to talk to the Pink Tutu Ladies, a local cancer awareness non-profit.
Once past the gate, you enter what can only be described as a carnival. Food vendors line the hallway intermingled with souvenir booths and a variety of local organizations handing out freebee trinkets. The smell of popcorn mingles with the smell of mustard as people stroll from one fast food offering to the next. “Get your programs – second edition” is shouted out barker-style by a young man in a voice so loud he can be heard clearly above all of the other noise.
Once in your seat the carnival atmosphere continues. Country music playing over the intercom competes with an announcer saying who-knows-what. Sea Dogs regulars greet each other with friendly taunts like, “Not you again!” A squeaky juvenile voice piped in from behind, “What’s a strike?” Groups from local summer camps are grouped together in general admission seats and stand out from a distance in their matching neon colored t-shirts.
And don’t forget the Sea Dog Biscuit. An ice cream sandwich of vanilla ice cream and large chocolate chip cookies is a welcome treat on a hot July evening. A Sea Dogs must, people watch for the biscuit vendors twenty minutes before the first pitch.
Then the game begins. Great hits and fielding combine with an occasional exciting play to make the evening worth the time. The best play of the game on July 3 was a weak two-out hit into shallow left field that brought the runner on second base around third and headed at lightning speed toward home plate. With a super, precise throw from left field the pitcher tagged the runner out in a very close play. That was great baseball!
The Sea Dogs organization is well known in the community for its support of local charities and non-profits including Strike Out Cancer in Kids, Make-A-Wish and Be the Match for bone marrow transplants. In addition, they support the fundraising efforts of local charities such as churches and Slugger, the Sea Dog mascot, also visits children at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital twice a month. All of this makes the Sea Dogs not just a baseball team, but also a good neighbor and integral part of the community.
For the cost of a movie you can enjoy a real American tradition. Tickets may be purchased an hour before the game. The event is family friendly and is truly a taste of Portland.