Sure was nice of the Connecticut Defenders (Giants) to swing by Portland on their way to Manchester. ‘Slugger’ waved as the visitors’ bus pulled out for New Hampshire today, moments after the Sea Dogs had to call off a fourth scheduled game — Sunday’s contest — due to unplayable field conditions. I’ll bet that’s a fun bus ride. I can hear Defenders’ pitching coach, Bob ‘Steamer’ Stanley griping from here!
good very good news… Sea Dogs grounds-keepers, staff and front office personnel have made tremendous progress at removing BobCat loads of snow and ice from the still-frozen surface of Portland’s Hadlock Field. Now the not-so-good news… (you guessed it) field conditions are still unplayable. Saturday’s hoped-for start to the 2007 season has again been postponed. They’re shooting for Sunday.
I saw first-hand the yeomen work these folks are doing in sub-40 degree weather. But they really need large doses of 50+ degree sunshine – and that ain’t in the forecast. If you’re counting — and rest assured everyone connected with the team is — that’s three games wiped from the calendar by a kinda-fluke spring storm. Maybe tomorrow the players will finally receive their hard-earned Championship rings. Fingers crossed.
Ouch! Once again the start to the 2007 Portland Sea Dogs season has been postponed. No baseball, no Championship Ring Ceremony at Hadlock Field tonight. Field conditions, as you would imagine less than two days after a foot of snow began falling, will keep us in limbo until at least Saturday. That’s a day game (1 p.m.). Some one should call the DoubleTree where our opponents, the Connecticut Defenders (Giants) have been holed-up and see if they need more DVDs, magazines… room service.
Well, we’ve still got our Saux to watch! Hey, how about Dice-K’s debut!?
Oh, my! What the heck was Clay Buchholz eating over the winter?! He looks anything but ready to pitch tonight’s season opener at Portland’s Hadlock Fie…um… SNOW??!! No worries mate, we’ve got a special “postponed, snow” episode of Dog Cast. Bring your dancing shoes ‘cuz Slugger wants to boogie! Enjoy Show #6!
A foot of snow covers Hadlock Field in Portland at the moment, thus making a white-out of the big Opening Night plans to raise our Eastern League Championship banner. If you think you’re disappointed, how about the players? Many of our Sea Dogs have been patiently waiting all winter to receive those gawdy (spectacular is a better word!) rings! Team President and General Manager, Charlie Eshbach made the announcement this morning. This marks the third time in team history. I still remember on Opening Day 2001, the front office staff and some of the players out there building a team of snowmen at each position. Oh, and don’t forget 2003 when Portland’s first seven games were snowed-out.
Funny, I was thinking the same thing you are — and last night had a chance to ask someone in a position to know — WHY do you guys insist every year on playing baseball in northern New England the first week of April? That was at the annual Welcome Back Dinner where I also talked to many, many of you young fans. YES, I promised you’d be on the next podcast and you ARE. Check back here a bit later today and hear yourself!! ;)
Okay, about the game. Plans are now to hold the ring ceremony and banner hoisting on Friday night. Same opponent, the Connecticut Defenders (Giants). They’re camped out at the local Double Tree hotel right now. Probably playing checkers, ya think? Enjoy Portland, guys. You may be staying awhile longer.
Portland’s roster is set for Opening Day and is this club ever loaded! The Sea Dogs today announced the names of 27 players (including three starting the year on the DL) who will defend the Eastern League crown.
How stacked are these Sea Dogs? Three of the top ten prospects we have will play here, and 19 players boast Double-A experience; 16 spent time in Portland last season. Right hander Clay Buchholz, [left] the number three prospect in ‘Sox Nation, gets the Opening night start. He was 11-4 with a 2.42 ERA between Low-A Greenville (SALLY) and High-A Wilmington, and his 140 strikeouts was the class of our farm system.
And yes, the organizational cornerstone for the next decade, Jacoby Ellsbury, will be patrolling center here at Hadlock Field when the ‘Dogs kick off the 2007 season next Thursday night, same as he did for 50 games down the stretch in ’06. Named the second-best prospect in the entire Red Sox farm system (behind Dice-K) by Baseball America, Ellsbury has all the tools. Last year he hit a combined .303 with Single-A Wilmington (Carolina League) and Double-A Portland. And his 41 steals were tops in the Red Sox organization! Flanking Ellsbury will be a couple of studs in Jeff Corsaletti, who worked a Carolina League best 97 walks; his .400 OBP led the Blue Rocks last season), and newly acquired Cory Keylor, the Orioles’ Minor League Player-of-the-Year with Bowie in 2006 where he batted .294 with ten homers and 68 ribbies.
Hope you weren’t planning on waiting until the very last minute to purchase tickets to the Sea Dogs annual Welcome Home Dinner. There plum ain’t any left! Next Wednesday’s event to meet-and-greet the 2007 club comes on the eve of the season opener. Extra special this year, what with handing out rings and hoisting that EL Championship banner over Portland’s Hadlock Field! Gates open at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 5th. Game time 6:20 as our ‘Dogs get set to defend their crown against the Connecticut Defenders.