Hadlock Field Review
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Review of Hadlock Field Rating: 3.5
by Malcolm MacMillan
- Hadlock Field has been home to Sea Dogs since 1994
- Maine Monster in LF is park's signature sight
The town of Portland, Maine is a popular east-coast tourist spot for those who enjoy being close to the ocean and eating seafood. And while Hadlock Field isn't in the heart of Portland's tourist district, you still get a laid-back, holiday-like feel when you enter the park's gates. It's hard to describe, but you'll probably feel it once you visit.
When Portland was granted an Eastern League franchise set to debut in 1994, Hadlock Field was a logical venue. The park had been around for years, but needed a facelift to the tune of $3 million to bring it up to professional baseball standards. When the ballpark was opened for the Sea Dogs inaugural season in 1994, it had an official capacity of 6,000, but that number would soon expand through future renovations. The park's name is in honor of longtime Portland high school baseball coach Edson Hadlock, Jr.
In 1995, the team added the General Admission bleachers in the left field corner to increase the capacity to 6,500 and in 1998, three additional Box seat sections were added. The picnic area was expanded in 2002 and in 2006, the U.S. Cellular Pavilion was built atop the right field fence, giving fans one of the most unique seating experiences in the Minor Leagues. As of 2012, Hadlock Field holds 7,368 fans.
Seating aside, the field has measurements of 315 feet to left field, 400 feet to straightaway center field and 330 feet to right field. The short left field gives way to the park's most recognizable feature, the Maine Monster. Modeled (and named) after the famous Green Monster at Fenway Park, this one is so similar to the real thing that you're excused for doing a double take as soon as you see it. Like its Fenway counterpart, it has a scoreboard built into it and a Citgo sign, W.B. Mason sign and a giant Coca-Cola bottle. The fence is 37 feet high, just like at Fenway, and 160 feet in length. As much as the Maine Monster will catch your eye, make sure to look to the fence in center field every time a Sea Dogs player hits a home run and when the home team wins. You'll be surprised to see a large lighthouse rise above the fence.
Not to be outdone, right field also has its share of attractions. The U.S. Cellular Pavilion offers impressive sightlines from atop the 16-foot right field fence, and this area is also home to the Sea Dogs bullpen. According to the team, it's just one of two elevated bullpens in the Minor Leagues.