Autograph Tips For Hadlock Field

The Autograph Tips For Hadlock Field
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Home bullpen location poses a challenge
  • Team has signing booth in concourse at select games
Before the game, it's relatively easy to get Portland players to sign around their first base dugout.

Obtaining autographs at Minor League ballparks is easier than at Big League parks, because there are fewer fans and most small parks are designed to allow you to be in close proximity with the players. A visit to Hadlock Field is almost sure to yield some autographs for you, although the park's design can make autograph seeking somewhat of a challenge.

Usually, you have the best chance of getting autographs around the dugout or bullpen in the hour between the park's gates opening and first pitch. The Sea Dogs dugout is on the first base side and players are usually willing to sign autographs at either end of the dugout before the game and occasionally after it, too. It's the bullpen that can be the issue. Instead of being located down the first base line, the home team's bullpen is on an elevated platform behind the right field fence. This positioning means that as soon as they're warmed up, the Sea Dogs relievers will make their way to the bullpen and essentially be unreachable unless you're sitting in the area or are willing to make the long walk over. It's possible to get up to the U.S. Cellular Pavilion, a seating section in this area, to try for autographs, but the best thing you can do is hope for the players to sign while they're still around the dugout.

If it's the visitors you're after, they sign around their third base dugout and between the dugout and bullpen. The visitors' bullpen is located down the third base line, but it's surrounded by a tall chain-link fence that blocks off the players. As is the case with the home team, try to get the visitors to sign before they make their way to the bullpen.

At select games, the Sea Dogs have an autograph booth in the concourse at which one player signs for a period of time. Lining up at this booth is a foolproof way to get something signed, but it also cuts into the time you have to seek out autographs before first pitch. If the guy who's signing in the booth is someone you really want to get, it's probably worth lining up. But if not, you're apt to have more success staying around field level.