Sea Dogs season is upon us, and there are new additions to the ballpark experience to get excited about.
Even if you’re not the world’s biggest baseball fan, there’s a lot to cheer for at a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game. The Sea Dogs work hard to make their games a family entertainment experience. So if you’ve never been to Hadlock Field, or it’s been a while, here’s a guide to what’s new, what to look for, and what you need to know to get the most out of the old ballgame.
Cup holders: An important step toward ending the tragedy that is spilled ballpark beer. All lower box seats (the blue ones closest to the field) now have cup holders.
Free Wi-Fi: Now you can upload your cute pictures of the kids with Slugger, the Sea Dogs’ mascot, from any seat in the park to your favorite social media.
Throwback Thursdays: Themed nights from the past about once a month. Look for “Civil War Night” on May 21 with Joshua Chamberlain tossing the first pitch.
Pitch clock: Minor league teams now have 20-second pitch clocks. Sea Dogs fans can now rattle the opposing pitcher by chanting “Tick, Tick, Tick.”
“YMCA”: Practice making these letters with your arms, so you’ll be ready when Slugger leads the crowd in a performance of this 70s hit, in the middle of the sixth inning.
Bet on the kid: A lucky youngster will get picked to race Slugger around the bases in the middle of the fourth. Fans will cheer like crazy even though Slugger has lost every race he’s ever run.
The louder the better: At some baseball parks, the crowd just listens to “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” in the middle of seventh inning. At Hadlock the fans sing out loud, sing out strong.
Flying lobsters: Between inning contests for fans include the lobster toss, trying to catch rubber lobsters tossed high in the air, and musical chairs for kids.
Layers: It might be sunny for that 6 p.m. start, but spring nights can be cold in Maine. Always bring warm clothes.
Stretch out: The first row of the general admission section, behind the green reserved seats, has about twice as much leg room. This makes frequent trips to the concession stands a lot easier.
Say something: Before the game, you can go to the ticket office and pay $15 to have a message posted on the big electronic scoreboard.
Foul play: Because of the relatively small amount of foul ground at Hadlock, foul balls go into the stands a lot. Bring your glove, especially if you sit down the third base line.
No clock: Baseball is the only major sport that’s not timed. It’s measured this way: nine innings, three outs per inning for each team.
Wait to cheer: The home team, the Sea Dogs, always comes to bat at the end of an inning. Don’t cheer for the first team up.
Rally cap etiquette: Turning your cap inside out is a way to “rally” your team to score runs. But don’t do it when the other team is up or you’ll be helping the enemy.
Math can be fun: Figure a player’s batting average by dividing his hits by his at-bats. If a player gets one hit in three at-bats, his average is .333.
Here are a few members of this year’s Boston Red Sox who played with the Sea Dogs on their way to the Major Leagues:
WHERE: Hadlock Field, 271 Park Ave., Portland
HOW MUCH: $8 to $10 for adults; $5 to $9 for kids
INFO: Seadogs.com; website includes directions, parking information, schedule, and a list of upcoming promotions.