You almost need a scorecard to keep track of all the fun at Hadlock Field.

Minor league baseball has evolved into a family entertainment business over the years, and the Portland Sea Dogs work hard to pack as much fun as possible into the game, and especially during the fleeting moments when the game is not actually being played.

There are between-innings contests involving races, lobster tosses and musical chairs. There are fireworks nights, nights when people can dress up like Star Wars characters or super heroes, and bobblehead giveaways.

The Sea Dogs open their 30th season in Portland on Thursday with a 6 p.m. game against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Here is a guide to many of the entertaining moments and events you will see at games this year.


Traditionally, between innings is the time to go get a beer or hot dog. But at Hadlock Field, the time between innings is packed with exciting contests. The contestants are picked at random from the crowd, so anything could happen. People can win prizes, including passes to Funtown/Splashtown in Saco, water bottles and gift certificates. The contestants are mostly kids and teens, though some are adults.


Some of this year’s contests include: Lobster Toss, where an adult heaves a lobster (a fake one) with a lacrosse stick to another person trying to catch it in a trap; Hadlock Derby, kids racing each other on bouncing ball-like things; Finish the Lyric, where somebody has to finish the lyric to a popular song played over the loudspeaker; Dress and Dash, with kids racing each other, making stops along the way to put on parts of a Sea Dogs uniform; Kids’ Challenge Race, where one child races Slugger around the bases; and Musical Chairs, the classic game, with four kids and three chairs.

There will be five fireworks shows this year at Hadlock Field following Sea Dogs games. Photo courtesy of Portland Sea Dogs


The Sea Dogs have several events planned for specific games, beginning Sunday with a kids’ Easter Egg Hunt on the field, starting at 12:15 p.m. Kids get to find and collect candy, as well as toy-filled Easter Eggs.

Other events involve themes and costumes. On April 23, there’s Halloween at Hadlock, with fans encouraged to come in costume and join a pregame parade, then pick up treats around the park. On June 21, the park will host Margaritaville Night, celebrating a Jimmy Buffett tropical vibe. Fans are encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts, and Tiki Thom and the Beach Band will perform before the game outside the park.


People are asked to come dressed as their favorite Marvel comic book character during the July 22 Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond event. The Black Panther will make an appearance, and the Sea Dogs will be wearing Marvel-inspired jerseys and hats. On Aug. 12 at Star Wars night, again fans are inspired to dress up and the Sea Dogs will have special jerseys, but there will also be an appearance by members of the 501st Legion – New England Garrison, a Star Wars costuming fan club. A Princess & Pirate tea party will be held on Aug. 27, and the Hadlock School of Magic on Sept. 1 is an opportunity to dress in your favorite wizard robe. On Sept. 16, the team will stage its annual “Field of Dreams” promotion, where Sea Dogs players wander out of a cornfield wearing old-timey uniforms. It’s always a fan favorite, even if you didn’t see the movie.


The Sea Dogs will hold a Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond event on July 22. Photo courtesy of Portland Sea Dogs


The Sea Dogs are planning four bobblehead giveaways, with the first 1,000 fans getting the wobbly keepsakes. The first one will be May 23, with a bobblehead of retired astronaut and Maine native Chris Cassidy, who will make an appearance at the park. Challenger Learning Center of Maine will also be on hand with space exploration displays and artifacts. Other bobbleheads planned for this season include Sea Dogs player and Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela on July 18, former Sea Dogs and major league catcher Charles Johnson on Aug. 9, and Katie Krall, the Sea Dogs’ first female coach, on Aug. 26.


A big part of the fun at the ballpark is the food. And the most beloved food at Hadlock Field over the years has been the Sea Dogs Biscuit, a cookies and ice cream sandwich. Skowhegan-based Gifford’s Ice Cream was not able to make them last season because of supply-chain issues. Gifford’s couldn’t get all the ingredients used in the melt-resistant ice cream that goes into a Sea Dogs Biscuit. The team sold a substitute treat instead, much to fans’ chagrin. But the Sea Dogs say the biscuits are back this year and ready for mass consumption.


Being that the team is called the Sea Dogs, it makes sense they are pretty dog-friendly. The team hosts six Bark in the Park events during the season. People can bring their dogs to the ballpark and sit in a VID (very important dog?) section with other canines and their people. There’s also a pregame parade for those with both four legs and two. The first one this year is April 21.

Speaking of dogs, the team’s super enthusiastic mascot, Slugger, is always part of the show. Slugger can be seen running around the field and in the stands, mugging with fans or harassing opponents. He races kids around the bases and dances to ballpark music. One of the highlights of each game is when Slugger stands on the home dugout in the sixth inning and leads the crowd in singing the classic ’70s disco hit “Y.M.C.A.” Make sure you practice making those letters with your arms before your next game.

As if Slugger, baseball and all the promotions the team plans aren’t exciting enough, there will be five fireworks shows, immediately after the game. The first one is May 26, the Friday before Memorial Day.

The Sea Dogs will host a Star Wars Night on Aug. 12. Photo courtesy of Portland Sea Dogs


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