Baseball sounds in my neighborhood mean summer isn’t too far off

The Bellamy Jazz Band struck up a familiar tune Thursday afternoon outside Hadlock Field as fans started streaming in to watch the Portland Sea Dogs play their home opener against the Hartford Yard Goats — whatever a Yard Goat is.

It wasn’t exactly a sellout crowd, but folks on hand seemed to be be having a good time despite temperatures in the 40s. Some of the Sea Dogs were wearing hoods and warming up their gloves on a heater as they left the dugout.

When starting pitcher Kevin McAvoy reared back to throw his first pitch, I felt a familiar lift in my spirit that comes every single spring when the Dogs come back to town. This team is kinda special to me. I went to a game the first week they opened in 1994. It was cold that night, too.

Now, I live close enough to the field to hear the National Anthem and Sweet Caroline every night. Those baseball sounds mean summer in my neighborhood.

I know it’s a bit of a cliche to talk about baseball and renewal and spring and all that. But maybe it’s a cliche because it’s true.

As the great baseball player, coach, scout and philosopher Buck O’Neil once said, “I can feel like I’m 15 when I’m talking baseball, watching baseball.”

I don’t think Buck was talking about minor league, between the inning shenanigans and Slugger the crazy Sea Dog. But I still know what he meant. It still rings true.

Did the Sea Dogs win their home opener this year? I really couldn’t tell you. I’m just happy to have them back in town. It may be April. It may be cold. But summer is on the way.

Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.