Sunday, August 7, 2022

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Summer might be winding down, but Eliot and I are still trying to enjoy every minute of it.  Now that we feel better and we're able to leave the house again, we have been trying to make up for some lost time.  And the perfect thing to do when you want to get out of the house but you can't move around too much...?  Watching a baseball game.

Eliot and I have caught a few more Portland Sea Dogs games.  This past Thursday, August 4th was 90's Night and we've had it marked on our calendar.  They were wearing their teal jerseys, and you all know how we feel about the color teal... hehe.

Eliot drove home after his first day back at work so we could drive up the back way instead of the highway.  We were going to meet at the park and ride, but this made more sense.  I'm glad because I was feeling tired and it was better driving together!

Going to the game was my first post-COVID outing and I have to admit that I was pretty excited just to get out of the house.  I had completely lost track of time while I'd been home sick and Eliot and I weren't exactly firing on all cylinders.  We had forgotten about a weekday game and navigating rush hour.  We left the house later than we had planned to, and then on top of that we got stuck in traffic on the highway as soon as we merged onto 295.  It loosened up pretty quickly, but we were definitely running late.

Thankfully, the parking lot we've been using was still available.  We got parked and walked over to the game as quickly as we were able to.  I noticed myself huffing and puffing a lot and I could tell that my lungs definitely weren't at 100%.  I had to slow down and catch my breath a few times.

We got inside the ballpark and went to the store even though the game was beginning soon.  Eliot and I wanted to check out the store while it was still pretty quiet.  He found a new neon shirt that they hadn't had previously, so he bought that.  I found two new hats that I liked, but I decided to wait and see if they were available online. 

Eliot went to get French fries and I filled up our water bottles while he was waiting for those.  By the time we climbed up the stairs into the stands, it was the end of the first inning.  Our seats for this game were literally all the way at the top, so we took our time climbing up the stairs to them.  By the time we got seated, I basically collapsed into the seat and took a few minutes to catch my breath.

We got settled into our seats and I unzipped my bag.  This was the first game Eliot and I brought the donkeys to so we made sure to get pictures of them watching!  We had missed a bit of the game, but it went by fast anyways.  There were a lot of 1, 2, 3 outs which made the game seem like it was flying by.  Still, we enjoyed ourselves.

We had been excited about 90's night.  The Sea Dogs had pretty teal jerseys on.  (The replicas were a few shades lighter, but these were a deep teal closer to Sharks teal.)  It was also Jurassic Night so they had two cars on display outside of the ballpark.  During one of the between inning entertainment breaks, Slugger did a silly skit where he was trying to catch a dinosaur with a net.  Then, the dinosaur ended up finding a dino friend and together they chased him across the entire length of the field.

Slugger had a 90's themed spandex suit on for part of the game.  They played a lot of 90's music during different breaks.  Naturally, our favorite was when they played "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys.

Another highlight of the evening was when I had my first Sea Dogs biscuit!  I had eaten a few of the fries earlier in the night (since I was basically starving when we arrived at the game) but I made sure to save room.  During the second half of the game, Eliot went down and bought my ice cream sandwich and a lemon ice pop for himself.  The Sea Dogs biscuit was refreshingly cool, yummy and I really enjoyed it!

As for the game itself, it wasn't incredibly memorable overall.  The Sea Dogs lost but we did have another home run and got to watch the lighthouse and fireworks!

After the game, Eliot went back into the store to look for the shirt I had planned on getting.  I decided I liked his shirt from our first game and that I wanted one.  Sadly, they didn't have any of the whoopie pie shirts that I was going to get left.  (That's when I learned that you should always buy the merchandise in the store that's not available online before you buy the stuff you can find in the online shop!)

We headed towards the exit but Eliot made an abrupt stop.  He went over to one of the guys working to ask a question.  (It happened to be the guy that does the in game entertainment.)  Eliot was asking him about the jerseys for Star Wars night since he was planning to bid on one of the Iron Man jerseys from our first game and he wanted to know what the design for Saturday's game was going to be.  The guy wasn't 100% sure, but he thought it was the Millennial Falcon design.  We talked about jerseys with him for a few minutes, then we said goodnight and that we'd be back on Saturday!

A few weeks ago, we had looked ahead at the schedule and discovered that Saturday, August 6th was Star Wars night.  At the time, we thought we were going to be at Six Flags this weekend, so we assumed that we'd miss the game.  We were bummed out, but figured we'd try to go next year.  After we got sick, Eliot and I realized we wouldn't be making it to Six Flag this weekend as we're recovering, so we could go to the game!

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So yesterday evening, Eliot and I went to our third Portland Sea Dogs game.  I was extra excited because we had special Star Wars baseball jerseys to wear.  Eliot's had them tucked away for years.  He had originally liked them because the "Rebels" jersey was stylized like the Boston Red Sox font and the "Dark Side" was designed like the New York Yankees design.  We had gotten a chuckle out of it at the time, and I had completely forgotten that Eliot had them.  Thankfully, he remembered where they were in his closet so we had the perfect outfits to wear to the game!  I was also excited because I had my new baseball earrings from Torrid that I wore along with my jersey!

Before going to the ballpark, we drove up to Portland early so we could swing by the mall area to get food and check the Dollar Tree and TJ Maxx out.  (I had hoped to also make it to Homegoods, but we didn't have that much time.)  I'm really glad we went to TJ Maxx since they had the Mickey 4th of July decoration Eliot and I had liked when we saw it in Ellsworth; plus it had been marked down three times on clearance!  They had two left so we bought both of them.  After that, we drove over to Chili's to pick up our to-go order late lunch/early dinner and we ate in the Jeep.

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After I finished eating, I drove us over the familiar path to the ballpark.  Eliot got out $10 and we parked in the parking lot we usually do.  Then, we started the hike up the hill and down the other side.  I'm still getting really winded easily so I had to go at a snails pace.  About halfway through the adjacent parking lot, Eliot wanted to backtrack to check if we'd closed all of the windows in the Jeep.  He handed me his backpack with two of our donkeys and I slowly continued to move forward.

When I was about halfway down the hill outside of the ballpark, I stopped under a tree in the shade to catch my breath.  I was pretty tired at this point.  I stood there watching people walk by in my own little world while I tried to quiet all the huffing and puffing.  I willed myself not to start coughing because my ribs were already killing me.

As I stood there waiting for Eliot, people passed and chuckled when they saw the bag with Eeyore and Meep Meep in it.  A lady with sunglasses approached me after a minute and said something, but me being in my own world I didn't hear it.  I looked at her puzzled and she said "It's Joan."  It took me a second to connect the dots in my head since I was thinking she had originally said something about the donkeys.  

"Joan!"  It clicked a second later.  It was Joan who reads my blog!  I was so excited to see her again, but this time I refrained myself from attacking her in a hug.  I'm still very sensitive to the fact that Eliot and I are recovering from COVID.  We're cleared from quarantine and our 5 day post-quarantine mask requirement, but I'm still very aware of my bubble and don't want to get too close to anyone for their safety.  We talked for a minute and she asked how we were feeling.  I was also really excited to show them my Red Sox Star Wars jersey and tell them about Eliot's Dark Side Yankee jersey.  We got a chuckle about that.  We said goodbye and they headed down to the entrance while I stood there for another few minutes waiting for Eliot.

By the time he had arrived, I was feeling a lot better and rested, even though I was burning up with how hot it was.  We went through security, scanned our tickets and passed by the Stormtroopers at the entrance.  We were immediately greeted by a giant Chewbacca and a bunch of other Star Wars characters taking photos with fans.

After a quick trip to the bathroom, I met Eliot in the line to the store.  I had two hats and a shirt I wanted to get and none of them were available online.  I figured that since this might be our last game, I better get them while I could!  (One of the hats is the one I'm wearing in the photos with my jersey.  I thought the red and blue would look great with my Star Wars jersey and the shirt I bought from before!)  We bought my two baseball hats and neon logo shirt and headed to get a pretzel for Eliot.  After a quick stop at the water fountain to fill our empty bottles with cold water, we made our way to our seats.

This time, we were in the general admission, so we could sit anywhere we wanted in the bleacher section.  The chairs were pretty much sold out, although the stadium was not full.  We sat right in front of the seats we'd sat in on Thursday, thus ensuring our spot in the shade during the entire game.

They had the pre-game ceremonies and the game started a few minutes later.  This game was a lot more exciting than the other two we've been to.  For starters, the Sea Dogs scored two runs in the first inning!  There were also also a lot more hits from both teams and a lot less 1, 2, 3 out innings.

I wasn't feeling well the first two innings.  Eliot and I took a few photos with our jerseys on, then I took mine off to try to cool down.  My head and stomach were shot, and I felt a little nauseous.  Thankfully, once I was down to my tank top, I slowly started to cool off.  I forced myself to drink a bunch of cold water and after about 15-20 minutes, I felt stable.  My head hurt on and off the entire game, but my stomach was better at least.

Eliot and I enjoyed the themed Star Wars entertainment.  There were a bunch of people dressed up in costume.  Slugger was dressed up as the Mandalorian this year and he had a little "Baby Yoda" Grogu that he pushed around in a stroller.  They played some of the soundtrack during different breaks.  They also had the Sea Dogs players names in Star Wars font when they were up to bat.  They also had C-3PO jerseys on.

But my favorite part of Star Wars Night was in between the innings.  Slugger did another silly skit were he had to save C-3PO.  He threw Baby Yoda at one of the Stormtroopers and that was amusing as he "knocked him out" and he fell.  During another break, they had kids do a race in BB-8 inflatable costumes and the crowd was roaring with laughter as the kids attempted to run in them; it was really cute!

The people sitting in front of us provided another round of entertainment.  There were a huge group of mostly ladies (who work together) who brought their families with them to the game.  It was clearly their first game, and they had mixed feelings about it.  I think overall they were pretty bored with the game itself, but they got a huge kick of out of trying to take photos of each other when they weren't paying attention.  It became an all out war at one point.  I was joking with them that it suddenly "got savage in section 308" and we all got a good laugh about it.  Somewhere in the 5th or 6th inning, they'd had enough and decided to leave.  But they were pretty funny.

The highlight of the game was the Sea Dogs home run in the 4th inning where they got three guys in to home plate!  Everyone went crazy as the ball went out of the ballpark and the players ran into home.  It was pretty exciting to watch!

The best part of the night was that the Sea Dogs won!  They held onto the lead to win 6-5.  Eliot and I were excited to experience their first win at a game we went to.  The speakers blasted "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang as the players lined up to high-five each other.  We both surprised when fireworks shot out from behind the lighthouse at center field after the win.  Then, they also shot the sparkling flares out of either side like they do when we get a home run.  That was fun and a great way to end the season if we aren't able to go to anymore of their games this year!

It's definitely been a crazy few weeks between the Backstreet Boys concert, spending a long weekend in Bar Harbor, getting sick, and now recovering from COVID.  Going to the Portland Sea Dogs games has been a nice break from our day-to-day routine.  I'm sure that Eliot and I will be seeing a lot more of them in the future!  °o°

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