Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Our First Portland Sea Dogs Game

Summer is sliding by at the speed of light... I can't believe that we're already more than halfway through July!  Eliot's and my summer is filling in quickly, especially with our trip to California coming up Labor Day weekend.  I'm sure it's going to feel like our summer is over before I know it... so I'm trying to soak in every moment that I can.

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I've been slowly trying to work down my bucket list.  Those 50 things are starting to look pretty daunting, but it's all about fun so I'm focusing on that!  As you know, one of my goals was to go to a baseball game.  Eliot and I haven't been to one since we went to see the Red Sox on our first wedding anniversary!  Looking ahead at our calendar, it's not looking like we're going to have the time to make it down to Boston.

All along, my other idea was to see a Portland Sea Dogs game.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but we've never been to one.  Eliot and I have lived in Southern Maine for almost 10 years, and we've driven past the stadium countless times.  But we've never actually gone to a game.  (The closest we've even gotten to the stadium was when we went to the Lego Fan Fest this spring.)  It was definitely time to change that! 

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It's almost like Facebook read my mind.  I was scrolling through my newsfeed a little over a week ago, and I saw an ad for the Portland Sea Dogs and their upcoming Marvel Night game.  It piqued my curiosity and I clicked the link to find out some more information.  The game was on Saturday July 16th at 6:00 pm.

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I looked into tickets and there were still quite a few available.  I also checked out the other games and discovered they do a few Bark in the Park events each season.  (Yay, we can take the puppies when we have them!)  I filed the information away and wrote the game down on my to do list.  We've been so busy that I didn't mention the game to Eliot until a few days later.  He loved the idea and immediately started looking for tickets.  Before I knew it, we had bought tickets and it was officially on our calendar! 

Saturday afternoon, we left our house around 3:30 pm.  (We wanted to get there early since we'd never been there before and we had no idea what the parking situation was.)  We grabbed food on the way since we hadn't eaten since breakfast; then we arrived outside of the stadium right around 4:15.  We found parking just up the road for $10.  After we got settled, we walked down the hill to Hadlock Field.

Outside of the ballpark, a giant statue of Slugger greeted us.  Eliot took a few photos for me since my phone was safely tucked away in my backpack, then we headed to security.  After a quick bag check and walking through the metal detector, we were inside!  We took a few minutes to get the lay of the land... finding out where the store, men and women's bathrooms, and food and merchandise stands were.

The line to the store was kind of long, so we walked down the concourse exploring instead.  I went into the bathroom quickly while Eliot checked out the merchandise booth outside.  He had picked out a Maine Whoopie Pies shirt while I was gone.  I checked everything else out and decided to wait until we'd seen the store to make a purchase.  Eliot bought his shirt and we were on our way.

At this point, the line had died down a lot and we barely had to wait.  The store is tiny and they were only letting 12 people inside at a time.  While waiting in line, we saw the Marvel meet and greet with Captain Marvel who was "visiting" for the game.  We also spotted Slugger the mascot running around dressed up as Iron Man.  (So cute!)

Eventually, it was our turn to enter the store.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of things to look at in such a small space.  Lucky for us, both Eliot and I had checked out the online store the night before, so we already had an idea of what we wanted to get.  

I grabbed a black Sea Dogs teal Maine logo baseball hat and the rainbow Pride shirt that I had wanted.  Then, I added a blue Sea Dogs logo t-shirt as an afterthought.  Eliot bought a teal logo long sleeve shirt since he'd already gotten the Maine Whoopie Pies t-shirt.  While the girl was scanning things, I remembered that we hadn't gotten our Slugger plush so I picked one out.  Back at the register, we also grabbed a Sea Dogs sticker to put on one of our 3D printers.  (Eliot puts a bunch of stickers on them.)

We left the store with plenty of Sea Dogs gear to wear to the next game!  Although, we did have our eyes on a few other things.  I'd like to get a long sleeve shirt (like Eliot's) eventually to wear if I get cold after the sun sets.  I also wanted the rainbow Pride baseball hat.  They were sold out of the doggie bandanas online, but they had them in the store.  And Eliot was going to go back to get me a pink shirt, but I told him it was ok to wait.  We'll be back and probably add to our collection eventually anyways!

After leaving the store, Eliot and I wandered around the concourse looking at the signs and plaques on display.  A lot of big name Red Sox players had been Sea Dogs at one point, and it was pretty cool to see their names on the wall.  Before heading to our seats, Eliot filled my empty water bottle at the water fountain.  It took us a few minutes to figure out where our seats were, but we found them with the help of an usher.

Once we sat down, we had 50 minutes until the start of the game, so we settled in and got comfortable.  Unfortunately, our seats were directly in the sun, and while it was late in the day, it was still warm.  The sun skirted in and out of the clouds, but it was pretty warm!  I rolled up my t-shirt sleeves and was glad I wore shorts.  (Eliot had jeans on and was dying.)  After a few minutes, he went to get a soda to help him cool off.  He returned with that and a box of fries... that were absolutely delicious!

A little before the game was supposed to start, the Sea Dogs had a parade around the outer edge of the field for everyone who was dressed up for Marvel Night.  Slugger and Captain Marvel lead the parade.  There were a lot of cute kids dressed in their favorite superhero costumes.  Eliot and I got a kick out of it.  Some weren't Marvel characters, but it was clear these kids were living their best lives so who are any of us to judge?

The players warmed up and the game was close to starting.  Eliot and I watched as Slugger took a few photos and videos for social media.  They had the pre-game ceremony with the ceremonial first pitches for some local heroes, as well as Captain Marvel.  Then, we all stood for the National Anthem.  Then, an adorable little girl in a Wonder Woman costume shouted "play ball" and the game began.

Throughout the game, there were many ties back to it being Marvel Night.  The Sea Dogs were dressed in special Iron Man shirts for the evening.  Some of the in between inning entertainment was themed to super heroes.  There was a skit where Slugger had to save "a fan" (plush toy) from the "bad guys" and it was absolutely hilarious.  It was definitely scripted and poorly acted, but it had Eliot and I both laughing.

Our favorite between inning event was the bouncy horse race sponsored by Funtown where there were four kids competing and they had to bounce their horse to the finish line.  Two of them were pretty close, and then the one closest to us bounced himself sideways toppling over while the other one crossed the finish line.  It was cute and funny.  Although, the musical chairs with the kids playing was also pretty amusing.

The game itself was pretty quick.  There were a lot of outs pretty quick into each inning.  Even the people beside me said that it was going by fast.  Eliot and I were enjoying ourselves though. I was also getting a kick out of the fact that I was kind of behind one of the poles.  (It's a private joke Mom and I share after we were behind the pole at the Red Sox game and a bunch of drunk fans were shouting to move it since it was in their way.)  The only part we didn't enjoy was having to pay close attention to the foul balls.  One went right over our heads and while it was no where near hitting us, it reminded me of how much I enjoy sitting behind the netting at hockey games.

One of the highlights of the night was singing two New England baseball staples, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and of course "Sweet Caroline," which is always a big fan favorite.  (Bum, bum bum!!!)  I took videos of both songs to remember the moment.  I probably looked silly to some people but I didn't want to forget it.  We used to take so much for granted that simple moments like this are often overlooked.  It's so nice to be out at sporting events and I don't want to ever take that for granted again! 

As the game continued into evening, the sun slowly set.  Both Eliot and I were thrilled when the sun finally dipped down behind the stadium around 7:45.  (I made sure to keep track of the time so we'd know for future reference.)  At this point, we could finally see without the sun being in our eyes.  And the sunset was absolutely gorgeous.  We both took a few photos, but they'll never do it justice.

In the 8th inning, we finally got a home run and scored two runs.  It wasn't going to be enough to win the game, but it was fun to cheer with everyone.  Both Eliot and I enjoyed the foghorn played in celebration, and we were surprised when a lighthouse popped up from behind the wall and fireworks started shooting out on either side of it!

The game ended shortly after that.  We ended up losing 7-3, but both Eliot and I had a ton of fun and really enjoyed it!  Neither one of us are huge baseball fans, but watching a game live is so much better than watching on television.  It was a great way to take a night off, spend time together, and have fun... plus it was relatively inexpensive!  Our tickets were $37 total- including fees, parking was $10, and Eliot said the food was reasonably priced.  The most expensive part of the evening was all of the merchandise we bought... and we wouldn't be doing that every game anyways.  (We needed some gear to wear for the next Portland Sea Dogs game we go to!)

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Eliot and I have both already looked ahead at their schedule for the remainder of the season.  The Sea Dogs are away on a road trip for the next week or so.  But we've already picked out another home game to go to before the season ends!  I think this is just the beginning of many Portland Sea Dogs baseball games in our future!  °o°

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