I’m not a sports person. I don’t like playing them and, with the exception of gymnastics, I don’t really like watching them.

I’m a Red Sox fan, of course, but that’s more of a cultural thing. I have no interest on baseball on TV.

But I love the Sea Dogs.

For my family (and, I suspect, a lot of other families in Maine), summer means baseball at Hadlock Field. It’s cheaper than the movie theater and you’re actually encouraged to make noise. We have a certain routine for going to a game: You have to remember both sunscreen and a blanket (for when the game stretches on after sundown, as it often seems to do). You see Slugger racing a lucky little kid around the bases, and Slugger always manages to trip and fall just when victory seems within his grasp. It’s a cute bit that never, ever gets old.

Unfortunately for my family, we never got to wave Slugger over to our seats, because my sister was petrified of Slugger when she was young, and if she caught sight of him, she would climb my dad like a spider monkey for protection. (She’s much better now, I promise.) When I was in elementary school, we used to take field trips at the end of the school year to a game. My favorite ballpark treat is fried dough, and I remember once blowing on it because it was hot, not thinking of the fact that it was covered in powdered sugar, and ended up blowing powdered sugar all over the back of my classmate’s head. (Whoops.)

One of the last good days my dad and Uncle Tim had, during the summer they were both dying of cancer, was a Sea Dogs game. My Uncle Tim was in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank, and Dad was using a cane and couldn’t walk very far or fast. I remember the staff at Hadlock being so helpful when our motley crew showed up, and they did us a favor and let all of us into the wheelchair-accessible seating and set us up and checked in on us occasionally. There was fried dough. Hot dogs. I had a glass of what was labeled “pinto grigio” at the bar stand. The Sea Dogs hit a home run (not a surprise because, of course, they are amazing) and the lighthouse came up out of the field and shot fireworks. When my dad entered Maine Medical Center for the last time, he was in a room with a view of Hadlock Field. He could hear the cheers and see the big stadium lights at night.

While they haven’t officially canceled the season, it’s pretty clear to everyone that the Sea Dogs won’t be taking the field this summer, and management is operating under that assumption. And I’m sad, of course, but mostly I’m grateful and happy that the Sea Dogs organization is putting the health of our community ahead of ticket sales. I’m accustomed to seeing stories about businesses putting their profits ahead of public health and employee welfare, so seeing a local business do the right thing was as refreshing as a Sea Dogs biscuit on a hot day. Not only have the Sea Dogs instituted a very generous ticket refund policy (you have until Aug. 28 to return or exchange them), they have also committed to paying all of their staff, including game-day employees, for the whole season, based on their 2019 pay levels. They are putting their money where their mouth is.

There are ways that you can support the Sea Dogs if you would like. You can buy Sea Dogs merchandise on their website, and I have treated myself to some shirts for myself and a stuffed Slugger for Janey. Or, if you’re craving ballpark food, you can place an order and pick it up at Hadlock or get it delivered. (Except the craft beer. They won’t deliver the beer. Or, I am assuming, the pinto grigio.)

Sadly, the fried dough does not appear to be available, I assume because the Sea Dogs management is heroically protecting my waistline. (They really do care about the community.) There aren’t any Sea Dogs biscuits, either, as the team is currently looking for a new vendor after they found their previous one, Shain’s of Maine, did not “represent their values” (the owner had multiple employees speak out that he had made racist statements and created a bad working environment).

That’s fine by me, though. I think Sea Dogs biscuits taste best in a seat in Hadlock Field, and I am happy to wait until next year.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
[email protected]
Twitter: mainemillennial

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