The Portland Sea Dogs failed in four attempts to open their season at home.

Now, the Sea Dogs will have to settle for the next best thing, starting the 2003 Eastern League campaign in what is for most their previous home.

With Wednesday’s game against New Britain postponed because of bad field conditions, marking the seventh straight day in which the season-opener has been scrubbed, Portland will try again tonight in Trenton. The Thunder also have had all seven of their games postponed, including last week’s series in Portland.

There is, of course, a catch.

Fourteen members of the Sea Dogs called Trenton home last season, as did manager Ron Johnson.

The Boston Red Sox changed affiliations after eight seasons in New Jersey in the off-season and headed north for Portland, while the New York Yankees left Norwich, Conn., and forged a relationship with the Thunder.

The shifts resulted in increased tickets sales and renewed interest for both franchises, which have perennially been among the top draws in the league since their inceptions in 1994.

“I think it worked out good for us and I think it worked out good for (Trenton),” said Portland general manager Charlie Eshbach.

The long-rumored split between the Thunder and the Red Sox turned contemptuous late last season when Trenton’s roster was decimated and team ownership openly criticized the Boston organization.

This, according to Trenton general manager Rick Brenner, is all in the past.

“We have no hard feelings,” said Brenner. “We had a wonderful eight-year relationship with the Red Sox. Now, we have a relationship we think will get better and stronger for years to come.”

Brenner said it will be nice to see the old players and Johnson, who he considers a good friend, but you have to move on.

“You get used to guys moving around,” he said.

Sea Dogs outfielder Tonayne Brown, who spent two seasons in Trenton, says the best was made out of a bad situation last season.

“It was tough,” Brown said. “But the fans were great right up until the end.”

Despite finishing tied with the Sea Dogs for the worst record in the Northern Division, the Thunder drew 408,463 fans to Waterfront Park, good for third in the Eastern League.

“We had a great fan base and I was treated well,” said Johnson. “But after being up there, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Boston Red Sox belong in Portland, Maine.

“From a personal standpoint, I made a lot of friends and I look forward to seeing some people in Trenton. From a business standpoint, I want to kick their ass. They’re the Yankees, man!”

Sea Dogs notes: The Sea Dogs left New Britain early Wednesday morning and worked out in the indoor facilities at Waterfront Park in Trenton in the afternoon. Jorge de la Rosa will oppose the Thunder’s Andy Beal tonight at 7 p.m., weather permitting. The forecast in Trenton called for more rain Wednesday night and overcast skies on Thursday with showers turning to a steady rain late in the evening.No make-up dates have been scheduled for the three postponed games in New Britain.

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