April 17, 2013

2003: Proud parents now in Boston

The affiliation with the Red Sox is born, making the Sea Dogs part of the New England baseball fabric.

The 10th anniversary season of the Portland Sea Dogs had an impact that rippled through New England. Season tickets sold quickly and sellout crowds were ready to greet the Sea Dogs, now the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

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Portland Sea Dogs pitcher Greg Montalbano finds something to smile about while warming up in snow flurries at Hadlock Field before the season opener against the Trenton Thunder, Thursday, April 3, 2003, in Portland, Maine. The Sea Dogs are the new Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)


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Staff Photo by Gordon Chibroski, Friday, June 27, 2003: Gabe Kapler crushes a drive to deep right for a standup double in the sixth inning. He was driven in by the following batter for the Sea Dogs' first run of the game. Kapler is headed to Boston.

Additional Photos Below

Affiliation: Boston Red Sox
Manager: Ron Johnson
Attendance: 405,021 (6,231 average)

Final standings

Northern Division
Team Aff W L Pct. GB
New Haven TOR 79 63 .556 --
New Britain MIN 73 68 .518 5.5
PORTLAND BOS 72 70 .507 7
Trenton NYY 70 71 .496 8.5
Binghamton NYM 63 78 .447 15.5
Norwich SFG 62 79 .440 16.5
Southern Division
Team Aff W L Pct.
Akron CLE 88 53 .624 --
Altoona PIT 78 63 .553 10
Erie DET 72 70 .507 16.5
Bowie BAL 69 72 .489 19
Reading PHI 62 79 .440 26
Harrisburg MON 60 82 .423 28.5

Notable hitters

Player HR RBI SB Avg.
Kevin Youkilis 6 37 7 .327
Kelly Shoppach 12 60 0 .282
Jeremy Owens 21 68 15 .263

Notable pitchers

Player W L SV ERA
Anastacio Martinez 3 1 14 2.25
Jorge De La Rosa 6 3 1 2.80
Jake Chapman 6 1 0 3.45

Then the snow came and wiped out the season-opening series against the Trenton Thunder, the new affiliate of the New York Yankees. Not until April 10, a full week after the season was scheduled to start, did the Sea Dogs finally play.

The Dogs did not play a game in which the temperature was above 55 degrees until May, and they suffered nine postponements in the season’s first month.

Despite the drama, prospects Kevin Youkilis and pitcher Jorge De La Rosa – along with a 7-1 start from Josh Stevens – helped Portland stay near the top of the division. Catching prospect Kelly Shoppach arrived in late April, and the Sea Dogs won 14 of 19 games to take over the division lead. Center fielder Jeremy Owens fueled the run, hitting seven homers and driving in 17 runs.

After sending Youkilis, De La Rosa, Stevens, Shoppach and Owens to the Eastern League All-Star game, the Sea Dogs began the second half of the season with nine wins in 12 games to solidify their hold on the top of the division.

However, injuries, trades and late-season call-ups ravaged the roster, forcing the team to use a franchise-record 50 players. Youkilis was promoted to Pawtucket in late July in the midst of a 71-game on-base streak – which tied the modern day minor-league record set by Kevin Millar. De La Rosa was called up a week later, and Portland went on a slide, losing nine consecutive games to begin August.

Before the month was up, Portland had fallen to third place and would miss the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. The Sea Dogs finished 72-20, the first winning record by a Red Sox Double-A team since 1999.

Knuckleballer Charlie Zink flirted with two no-hitters, coming within two strikes of the franchise’s first complete-game no-hitter on Aug. 30.

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Additional Photos

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Staff Photo by John Patriquin, Thursday, July 10, 2003: Portland Sea Dogs #36 Kevin Youkilis during action against New Britain today at Hadlock Field.


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