Category Archives: Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs Excite Sold-Out Hadlock

Christian Koss slides home safely
Alex Binelas homered twice

(Portland) It was a happy Sunday at Hadlock.

Yes, the Sea Dogs won in last-inning, dramatic style but that was only part of it.

The park was busy with folks.  There was a buzz in every part of the place.

The Sea Dogs pulled out a 12-11 win against the AA Yankees.

I guess, that alone would make a Yankees’ disliker, like myself happy.

The best part may have been that the young Yanks grabbed the lead in the top of the ninth only to have the young Red Sox take it back.

Christian Koss at bat

The crowd got my attention. People were excited to be there and were enjoying themselves on a warm Sunday afternoon. 

The Sea Dogs management always has fun going on, but on this afternoon just being there was enough.

In the pre-game, one young man got to hand slap the players on both teams.

My biggest takeaway was a special needs young man taking on the National Anthem.  He gave it a shot and pulled it off.  It didn’t have quality, but it had heart and that put a lump in my throat.

I had hoped for a look at young Ceddanne Rafaela, but he was in Los Angeles taking part in the Futures Game.  I’m guessing that the Yankees’ top prospect (Anthony Volpe) was also there.

I saw Anthony at a New Hampshire/Somerset game earlier this year.

There was plenty of action on the field.  There were baserunners galore and several home runs.

Alex Binelas congratulated by Manager Chad Epperson

Young Alex Binelas (#17 Red Sox prospect) whacked two homers.  Alex moved up to AA in late June.  This was certainly his best game so far.

Impressed with Christian Koss.  He has the numbers to be Portland’s MVP to date. Today he homered and was aggressive on the bases.

Portland’s David Hamilton leads the Eastern League in steals with forty. 

I was on the edge of the Portland dugout and so when he was picking up his glove at the start of the game I said to him, “Steal, steal, steal!” He smiled.

David Hamilton steals second base in the first inning

David then went off to his position in the field but when he came back in, he led off with a hit and then immediately stole second.  From my location I had pretty good photographer’s positioning to catch that action.

When the inning ended, David again came by for his glove.  Again, I told him to steal.  He looked at me and said, “I already gave you one.”

David did steal second (again), and this time with no throw.  Later, he would steal home.  Wish I’d gotten that shot!

I did get Christian Voss sliding into home.

Christian Koss reaches for second base

A player I was looking for was Max Burt.  Max attended St. John’s (Danvers).  When I saw the Somerset team in NH, Max didn’t play.  However, the day before today’s game Max had hit two home runs.  Today, he collected a couple of hits.

St. John’s Prep’s Max Burt had two hits against Portland

One thing that Max did in the field that was unique was, just before a pitch was made, he would jump in the air.  I’m not sure what advantage there is to it, but he did it just before every pitch.

Max Burt gets ready

The Eastern League schedule is interesting.  Teams now play six-game series with each opponent.  What this means for Portland is that their next two series are away, so they won’t be at Hadlock until August 2nd versus Erie.

August works the other way for the Sea Dogs because most of the month they will be at Hadlock.

The weather was interesting.  There was sun, clouds, and a little bit of rain.  Welcome to New England!

Continued thanks to Chris Cameron for making my visits possible.  Hadlock Field is a great place to be.

Ricardo Cubillan

Chad Bell retrieves a loose ball in the infield

Alex Binelas

Christian Koss congratulated in the Portland dugout after his home run

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Portland falls to New Hampshire 6-2

19-year-old Orelvis Martinez
Hayden Juenger went three innings and struck out seven

(Portland ME) The Portland Sea Dogs have pitching.

But on this afternoon, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had better pitching and won the game 6-2 at Hadlock Field.

Hayden Juenger and Paxton Schultz combined to shut out the Sea Dogs for seven innings and struck out twelve of them.

Kole Cottam drove in the Portland runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

This was Portland’s third game of the season and the first one for me. 

There are always comings-and-goings at the minor league level.  The guessing game over at what level players will be placed gets some answers in the early days of the season. 

Brandon Walter

My search at minor league games is usually about prospects.  I do my homework and intentionally attempt to photograph prospects on the rise.  It started for me when 19-year-old Bryce Harper came to Hadlock with the Harrisburg Senators.

Today the prime target was Orelvis Martinez of New Hampshire.  Orelvis is a 19-year-old shortstop who is highly regarded by the Toronto Blue Jays.  Orelvis stranded five runners today but his future is bright especially being where he is at his young age.

Portland started Brandon Walter who is #9 in the Red Sox system.  Brandon was voted the top minor league pitcher for Boston last year.  He is already twenty-five so I would suspect that he won’t last too long in AA.

David Hamilton dives back

Brandon was very effective this afternoon.  The lefty went five innings allowing just one hit and struck out seven.

Another impressive newcomer (so far) for Portland is David Hamilton.  The Sea Dogs’ shortstop is very fast and a valid threat to steal every time he gets on base.  David had two steals today. He came into the Red Sox system as part of the Hunter Renfro trade with Milwaukee.

Another ranked prospect (#27) that I saw was Portland’s third baseman Christian Koss. 

Good crowd today at Hadlock enjoying the sun with temperatures in the mid-50s.  April in Portland is not always that nice!

My day was made at Hadlock with the return of the Slugger/kid race.  Missed that all last year.  I’m a fan of Slugger’s and always pulling for him in the race.  I have faith that he’ll get that first W and I’ll be there to picture it.

Today was not Slugger’s day.  He seemed sluggish and I’m sure for good reason.  The inning before they had him out there dancing, black-flipping, and doing a split.  That is NOT how you get ready for a race around the bases. His legs were shot as a result.  He appeared worn out. 

Slugger does a back flip

I didn’t think his challenger was that fast.  He was steady, though, and that was all it took to win this afternoon. 

Slugger’s challenger wins by plenty

The Big Guy also has course-direction issues.  Today he rounded second, heading for first, but instead of cutting the corner at second he went by way of Falmouth!  No wonder he wasn’t in sight when the challenger crossed home.

Slugger takes a very wide turn

But hope springs eternal.  There will be other opportunities and with a few minor adjustments, things could have a happy ending.

Slugger gracious in defeat
Glittering backpack

I saw one of the New Hampshire players come onto the field carrying a glittering backpack.  I was told that it is a tradition of sorts for the youngest player to carry such a thing.  Now you know.

Plenty of kids at Hadlock today.  It is a terrific place to bring them.  The price is right and there’s plenty going on to catch their attention.

Thanks to media director Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Hudson Potts 1B
David Hamilton SS
Wil Dalton LF
Cameron Cannon and Brandon Howlett
Katie Krall – Development Coach
Christian Koss 3B
Portland turns two
Brandon Walter and Kole Cottam

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The Field of Dreams and other scenes at Hadlock Field

Ryan Fitzgerald and Devlin Granberg emerge from the corn
Grant Williams

(Portland ME) Plenty to see at Hadlock Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Field of Dreams Show.

Jay Groome.

The last game (most likely) at Hadlock this season.

Triston Casas.

And Slugger doing a flip?

Sunny skies with an accompanying breeze made being at the park pleasurable for all of us.

The Field of Dreams Show is special.  It’s the Sea Dogs’ biggest event.  Why?  Folks know the movie and the players are dressed in older uniforms.  Also, the crowd gets shown some love.

The walk in from the cornfield

Pre-Covid the players would go up into the stands after they had wandered in from the cornfield in center.  Today, they lined up along the foul lines and applauded the crowd.

Plenty of photo-ops for everyone.

The opponent today was the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.  They’re in the New York Mets system.

There was a total of sixteen top-thirty prospects on the rosters of the two teams.  Only FOUR of them (Hayden Senger & Carlos Rincon for Binghamton and Jay Groome and Ronaldo Hernandez for Portland) actually were in the game.  A bit disappointing.

Jay Groome was the winning pitcher

But Boston’s prospect #8, Jay Groome, was pitching for Portland.  I hadn’t seen him in action before. Today he looked very good.

The 23-year-old was drafted in 2016 by the Red Sox in the first round (#12).  It has taken Jay a while to get to AA with Tommy John surgery a key part in the delay.  Jay pitched his first AA game last week in New Hampshire and had ten strikeouts.  Today it was nine K’s. 

In Portland’s (10-3) win this afternoon, Jay pitched the first six innings and allowed just two hits. The 6’6” lefty had batters struggling to make contact for most of the time.

It may be rushing things, but I wonder how far away the next levels are for a lefty who strikes people out.  Might Jay start at Portland next April before quickly moving on to Worcester?

The players applaud the fans

The Sea Dogs are on the road in Hartford (CT) next week to finish the regular season.  There is still a chance they could make the two-team, Northeast League playoffs.  They’ll need “help” from teams ahead of them to get it done.  I’m not counting on it happening, but you never know.

It has been nice to have games to attend.  Being back, but being kept off the field, has been a struggle for picture taking but I do have a 600mm lens!  I have also learned that I could get some pretty good shots through the backstop mesh.

One of the league changes that was implemented this year has teams playing in one place Tuesday-Sunday and then traveling (if needed) on Monday.  It must save money for the teams.  The league will use the same format next season.

Triston Casas and Tyreque Reed

Assuming there are no Hadlock playoff games, Triston Casas won’t be seen in AA again, in my opinion. Boston’s #2 prospect should start in AAA Worcester next year if not at Fenway. He’s that good with stats to confirm it!

Triston is a powerful, dedicated athlete.  In every game I’ve been at I’ve seen Triston as the most driven player when it comes to pregame activities.  He’s all business.

The 2018 first-rounder did not play today but I found him in the Field of Dreams Show.  He was the one carrying a cellphone and taking pictures.

Hayden Senger of Binghamton

Triston didn’t stay in the dugout during the game.  I did get a (final) picture of him leaving the park for maybe the last time?

I have always been Slugger’s top fan.  (I may have been the only one giving him a chance in his each-game race against young fans.)  I’ve missed that racing activity this season.  However, the big guy has been in the crowd regularly glad-handing and posing for pictures in 2021.

I have worried that Slugger might be getting out of shape minus his every-game racing.  It’s easy to slough off when the season is over.

I’m pleased to report that Slugger has kept in shape.  He came out between two of the innings this afternoon and did a very active dance routine.  The highlight, however, was the big guy doing a backflip.  It looked dangerous and I was worried for him as he attempted it.  But, not to worry, over he flipped with a great landing!  I’m proud of him.

Slugger does a dangerous backflip

I was hoping to get a look at the Mets #2 prospect (Brett Baty) but couldn’t find him.  He was listed as wearing #22 but I discovered, unfortunately, that another player (Manny Rodriguez) was also listed as wearing #22.  And I thought that high school rosters were confusing!

I did see Mets’ prospect #24, Carlos Rincon.  Carlos was picked up in a trade with the Dodgers this year. Today, Binghamton’s DH had a three-run homer.

I also saw Mets’ prospect #21, catcher Hayden Senger.  Hayden was selected by the Mets in the 24th round in 2018. He has been a big surprise so far with his quick progress in the Mets farm system.

Ronaldo Hernandez (Boston’s 22nd prospect) was in action today as a DH.  He had a part in Portland’s five-run second inning today.

Continued thanks, from me, to my friend Chris Cameron for his part in arranging my visits to Hadlock.  Things always seem to work without a hitch with him in charge.

I have finally figured out where to park to avoid the $10 close-to-the-stadium parking. I also need the exercise!

Looking forward to more time at Hadlock in 2022.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jay Groome had nine strikeouts in six innings
Portland catcher Roldani Baldwin
Jay Groome ready to pitch
Grant Williams leads off second base
Jeisson Rosario scores a run in the second inning
Hudson Potts takes up from third base
Hayden Senger in the Binghamton dugout
Jeisson Rosario makes a running catch
Devlin Granberg ready to bat
Jay Groome checked by the umpires
Triston Casas
Triston Casas leaves Hadlock Field for the last time?
Antoine Duplantis and Josh Hejka
Wagner Lagrange
Yoel Romero and Raul Beracierta
Field of Dreams narrator and Sea Dogs radio announcer Emma Tiedemann

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Filed under Field of Dreams, Hadlock Field, Portland Sea Dogs

Chris Sale continues to rehab nicely

Chris Sale did a rehab start in Portland today
Chris Sale struck out nine Senators

(Portland ME) It’s been nearly two years since Chris Sale last pitched at the major league level.

He needed surgery (Tommy John) and he had it. Then the lengthy process to get back with the Red Sox and contribute began.

In the early weeks and months, it was easy to wonder if he would ever pitch again. Many of us lost track of him.

Lose track of him no more.  He is back and his chances of helping the first-place Red Sox are beginning to seem like a real possibility.

This afternoon Chris pitched for the first-place Portland Sea Dogs.  It was his third rehab effort in game conditions.

“Today was good,” said Chris afterwards.  “I don’t think that I was quite as consistent, however, with all my pitches.  All of my mistakes and misfires today caught too much zone.”

Osvaldo Duarte had a double and a homer against Chris Sale

Today’s opponent was the Harrisburg Senators.  Chris faced the same team on Tuesday.

“On Tuesday, when I would make a bad pitch, they were more on the outside of the plate,” he said. “If I made a bad pitch today it was in the middle of the plate, and they obviously capitalized on it.  They came out swinging.”

In 3 2/3 innings Chris gave up six hits to go with nine strikeouts.

The Sea Dogs ended up winning, 6-5, on a walk-off hit by Devlin Granberg.

Portland was ahead when Chris finished.  He noted that in the during-the-game press conference: “We’re still ahead.  The point of this is winning the game.  We’re on track.”

Chris Sale strikes out Jackson Cluff to end the third inning

Chris downplayed pitch velocity as too important so far.  “I threw a couple of 4’s and 5’s which is good for me.  Velocity is not the Number One thing on my list when I’m going out there to pitch.  That’ll take care of itself.”

Credit Harrisburg.  This is a 25-46 team, in last place, that Chris held hitless on Tuesday.  Today they came out hacking and making some contact. 

Osvaldo Duarte (ninth in the Harrisburg batting order) had a career day with three hits.  Two of them were off Chris who praised Osvaldo for his at-bats against him.

“He put a really good swing on that changeup (442-foot homer).  In his last at bat (double), I threw him a 1-1 fastball right off the plate.  He did exactly what he’s supposed to do: He took it the other way and didn’t try to do too much.”

The best part of Chris’s afternoon, in my opinion, was the third inning.  After Osvaldo’s homer tied the score, the Senators quickly had runners on first and third with no outs.  Big inning?  Chris would have none of it.  It was almost as if he was on as the closer in the World Series.  (Who can forget that performance!)  He mixed pitches and pounded the zone and Harrisburg couldn’t score.

KJ Harrison swings and misses

“I had to pitch out of some stuff,” said Chris.  “It was actually a good situation for me to be in.  It’s the time when your back is up against the wall.  Between the catcher (Ronaldo Hernandez) and I, we worked through that pretty well.”

Chris said that he threw more changeups today than he did on Tuesday.  “One of those changeups got hit pretty far,” he laughed.  “That pitch is one that I’ve got to get back on top of.  It was a good pitch for me a while ago and I need to refine it a little bit more and have some confidence in throwing it.”

Reading about Chris and listening to him this afternoon, I think that the part of the rehab that pleases him the most is the time between starts.  “My in-between days have been locked in for a while,” he said.  “It’s been a bright spot.  I’ve gotten into a better routine to know what my arm, body, and mind need in the days between starts.  Even the first couple of days after a start I’m bouncing back pretty good.  Just got to keep it rolling.”

Conference at the mound as Chris finishes pitching

“Rolling” is certainly what the Sea Dogs are doing.  They have now won eighteen of their last nineteen games.  They own the best record (45-24) in Double A.  Players get called up to Worcester.  Players are missing because they’re in the Olympics.  Nothing changes.  The team keeps winning. 

Chris loved being with the Sea Dogs

This is what Chris Sale had to say about being with the Sea Dogs this week: “I love this team.  They asked me if I wanted to go back to Boston in between starts and I said, ‘Absolutely, not!’  I wanted to stay here.  This is fun for me.  I appreciate these guys letting me be part of the team.  They’ve had something going for a few months now.  They made me feel welcome.  This is a gritty team.  They’re very talented.  These guys swing the bat about as well as anybody I’ve ever seen.  I’ve been talking a lot with the pitching staff bouncing ideas off; arm angles, pitch sequences etc..  Just pitching stuff.  I’ve appreciated how they’ve let me walk into their house and hang out for a week.”

The soggy weather delayed the start of the game for fifty minutes.  That sure helped me because I hesitated to even come because of the rainy forecast.  I arrived at 1:15 thinking I was late but soon happily realized that I was early.

Very attentive crowd.  The need for entertainment, other than baseball, was minimal.  Not too many kids in the crowd.  Most attending were adults who saw a chance to watch one of baseball’s best pitchers closeup and took it.  I was one of them!

Chris gets checked after an inning

Thanks, as always, to Chris Cameron for the arrangements he made on my behalf.

The Sea Dogs are home for six games with New Hampshire starting Tuesday.  They are well worth a look.

Chris Sale will probably get a start in Worcester (AAA) this week.  I wish him the best.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Tyreque Reed
Drinking Poland Springs in front of Wymans
Chris in his windup
2B Nick Sogard
Jake Alu had a double off Chris Sale
Chris leaves the mound after the first inning
Harrisburg starter Jackson Tetreault
Pedro Castellanos at bat
Ryan Fitzgerald homered
Tyreque Reed homered
Chris looks in to pitch

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Portland rallies past Hartford 7-5

Jameson Hannah scores the first Hartford run

(Portland ME) The Hartford Yard Goats got off to a great start.

Portland’s best pitcher (Josh Winckowski) was out in less than an inning.

Portland starter Josh Winckowski was gone early but the Sea Dogs rallied back

The visitors had a 5-0 lead.

Ryan Fitzgerald and Tanner Nishioka each had two hits and two rbi

But it didn’t last.

The Portland pitching improved, and their bats turned lively.

The Sea Dogs finished a six-game sweep of Hartford, 7-5, on a sultry Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

When I attend a game in Portland, I do my homework to be sure I know the top prospects in the game.

Hartford is a Colorado Rockies affiliate.

The top two CR prospects on the Yard Goat’s roster are Elehuris Montero (#9) and Jameson Hannah (#13).

First pitch of the game Jameson doubled.  Several batters later in the same inning, Elehuris drove him in.

Both prospects ended up with two hits, so I had several opportunities to get pictures of them.

Taylor Snyder leads EL in homers

There are still limitations on where photographers can shoot from at Hadlock Field but my 600mm lens keeps me in range of most action.

It would be nice to see what that lens could do from the edge of the dugout.

This shot of Taylor Snyder is a close-range picture.  (He was leaving the nearby Hartford locker room.)

Triston Casas is Boston’s top prospect although someone on Twitter claimed that tonight’s draft pick might immediately go to the top.

As long as the newcomer goes through Portland or New Hampshire, I’ll enjoy the pick.

I was stunned by the way Hartford roughed up Josh Winckowski.  I’ve seen Josh several times and he’s pitched well enough to get wins each time. Josh came from the Mets in a three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City.

Triston Casas

Willie Abreu (lefty) stuck his bat out at an outside pitch, thrown by Josh, with two outs and ended up with a two-run double down the leftfield line.  When Josh hit the next batter, his afternoon was over.

But Josh’s teammates rallied back, and the subpar outing didn’t get him a loss.

I continue to be impressed with Triston Casas.  There’s no joking around pregame.  He does plenty of stretching and running.  Triston is big but I see his swing as compact.  I wonder if he’ll get to Worcester (AAA) before the season ends.

Bobby Dalbec has got to be hearing his footsteps.

Both of the CR prospects (Jameson Hannah & Elehuris Montero) had two hits. 

Jameson and Elehuris came to Colorado in trades in 2020. Jameson was with Cincinnati and Elehuris was with St. Louis. 

Elehuris Montero (#9 CR prospect)

It must be a little frustrating for them to be on a team in last place in the Eastern League (18-41).

Taylor Snyder of Hartford leads the Eastern League in home runs with sixteen.

Willie Abreu had a home run for Hartford and drove four runs across.

The Yard Goats play at Dunkin’ Donuts Park which was recently voted the best Double-A ballpark in the country.  I need to get down there.  I also need to check out the Woo Sox.

I was happy today to see Slugger off the wide screen in centerfield and on the field and on the dugout.  His usual antics have not resumed but seeing him in the crowd is a step in the right direction.  The Portland staff did orchestrate some young fan competitions in rightfield.  

Slugger gives a wave

My Slugger attraction is watching him challenge a young fan to a race around the bases.  When that event resumes, then I’ll know that the old normal has returned.  Slugger will be well rested by then and might be able to end his losing streak. No one deserves to lose for as long as he has!

Good crowd today with plenty of kids.  Parking is nearby and the price (low) is right. 

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Pregame fun and games
Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez
Jameson Hannah (#13 CR prospect)
Triston Casas set to swing
Kids racing
Willie Abreu near home after a home run
Max George steals 2B as Ryan Fitzgerald takes throw
Devlin Granberg
Ryan Fitzgerald and Coco Montes
Jameson Hannah steals 2B as Tanner Nishioka takes throw
Denys Reyes
Ryan Feltner was the Hartford starter
Ryan Feltner being checked by the umpires

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Luis Medina: Still work to do

Yankees prospect Luis Medina has tremendous potential
Luis Medina had six walks and two wild pitches in 4 1/3 innings

(Portland ME) It had almost been two years.

August 19, 2019 was the last visit to Hadlock Field for me.

After that, Covid-19, and the reactions to it, took that pleasurable opportunity away from me.

But I was back yesterday.

My revisit was nicely arranged, as usual, by the Master Arranger, Chris Cameron.

I saw the first game of the Sea Dogs doubleheader with the Somerset Patriots.

Somerset is the AA representative of the New York Yankees.

I chase prospects and know that the good ones in AA will eventually be on the major league roster in time.

They’ll emerge on TV from Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and I’ll recall seeing them earlier. 

Oswald Peraza drove in two with a double

The last Yankee prospect who has now made the big team, that I saw at Portland’s Hadlock Field, was Glebys Torres.

Oswald Peraza (#4 NY prospect) and Luis Medina (#7 NY prospect) are both on the current Somerset roster.

When I realized that Luis Medina was pitching, I was eager to attend the game.

Both Oswald (shortstop) and Luis were promoted to Someset earlier this month. They are impressing the Yankees’ future planners

Both of them were signed as 16-year-old’s.

Oswald Peraza is a shortstop

Oswald (21) is from Venezuela.  Luis (22) is from the Dominican Republic.

Oswald is a smooth fielder who is hitting nearly .300.

Luis was the intriguing one to me.  He was throwing 100MPH in the Dominican Republic when he was sixteen!

He’s rated to have the “best pure stuff” by Baseball America is the Yankees farm system.

He was coming off his first AA start (versus Richmond) in which he had ten strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

I saw a clip of the Richmond game. Luis had great control of his curve, changeup, and fastball.

Luis’ issue has been consistency.  Can he throw strikes?  I am no genius on these things but if I’m facing a pitcher with control issues, I am either going to be very patient (and make him throw strikes) or be teeing off on early pitches in the middle of the plate.

Luis Medina

The “inconsistent” Luis pitched against Portland and took the loss. 

He reached 99 on several pitches and may have reached 100 on some others that I didn’t check on.  But there were six walks and two wild pitches.  Only five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Portland scored a run on each wild pitch.

So, the 22-year-old has a distance to go but the “best pure stuff” will get you plenty more chances to fix things.

Oswalt was good in the field, and he also drove in two runs with a double.

I had seen Portland earlier this month against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Manchester (NH).

1B Triston Casas

Triston Casas (1B) is the #1 Boston Red Sox prospect.  He’s young (21) and big (6’4” – 252).

Triston works relentlessly on pre-game conditioning.  He seems determined to avoid injuries and to improve his foot speed. I saw him do a lot of stretching and sprinting.

In both parks, Triston took time to sign autographs.

If I’m Boston’s Bobby Dalbec, I’m well aware that Triston plays my position (1B), has similar power, and doesn’t strike out as much.

Newly arrived Devlin Granberg had two hits for the Sea Dogs.  He played college baseball at Dallas Baptist University.

Josh Winckowski was the Portland starter.  He came to Boston via the NY Mets in the Andrew Benintendi trade to Kansas City.

Portland starter Josh Winckowski had nine K’s and got the win
Josh Winckowski

Josh seems more than able to hold his own at the AA level.  Versus Somerset he went five innings for the win with nine strikeouts.

Other Sea Dogs I took pictures of: catcher Ronaldo Hernandez (#11 prospect), 3B Hudson Potts, and SS Ryan Fitzgerald. 

Busy night behind the plate for the Patriots catcher Donny Sands.  Luis Medina had two wild pitches and some others that were off the mark.  Addison Russ followed in relief, and he had a wild pitch.

The Sea Dogs were giving free bobbleheads of Xander Bogaerts pregame to the first five hundred fans.  An hour before the gates opened, the fans were in place.

Newcomer Devlin Granberg had two hits

It was nice to be back in the park, but things were different for the fans and for me.

The fans, at the minor league level, expect to be entertained.  They don’t know the players and usually there are plenty of youngsters in the house.  The continued reaction to Covid-19 prevents any on-field activities.  Those activities are great at keeping the non-baseball types engaged.  Various contests appear between innings and there’s never a dull moment because the Sea Dogs’ staff fills the time so well.  And there was no Slugger!  I have pulled for that guy for years.  There’s always a race and he’s always in it. He’s been in a “bit” of a slump, but I also want to be there when the big guy gets that first elusive W.  Watching him on the video screen during this game in long-away centerfield is far from the same.  Can’t wait for the federal mandate insisting on Covid-19 restrictions to end!

Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez

Personally, I was kept from the field too.  Pregame is a nice chance to get some closeups.  Not being on the edge of the dugouts may keep me safer but I miss chances on good shots.  However, I do own a 600mm lens, so I’m not totally out of range. 

Nice weather, although the sun does set so that it’s right in my face in the only open spot I could shoot from. 

I have figured out where to park to avoid the $10 charge to locate near to the stadium. I can use the walk!

Thanks again to Chris Cameron.  On short notice, he made the needed arrangements.  I did have to sign a Covid-19 waiver when I checked in. 

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Stolen base by Tate Matheny
Triston Casas
Ball bounces up on Somerset catcher Donny Sands
Devlin Granberg rounds first after getting a hit
Luis Medina pitch in the dirt
Shortstop Oswald Peraza
Oswald Peraza at bat
Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
3B Hudson Potts
Triston Casas signs

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Prospect picturing in Manchester NH

Triston Casas is Boston’s top prospect
Austin Martin was chosen 5th in last year’s draft

(Manchester NH) Minor league baseball is back!

And I’m glad.

I enjoy going.

What do I like about minor league ball? 

Maybe it’s the nonstop whiffs of food that I shouldn’t be eating but crave.

More likely, it’s how hard the stadium staff and the players work to make it enjoyable. 

I’m walking along at today’s Fisher Cats’ game and a staff member cautions me about an untied shoelace. 

Players were warming up near the stands in rightfield.  A throw went into the stands. It didn’t come close to anyone, but it startled several of them.  The players involved rushed over to apologize and gave a baseball to one of the spectators.

Gabriel Moreno is Toronto’s 7th prospect

These are little things, but they make you glad you’re there and you want to come back.

I go to minor league games as a photographer.  I never plan to cover the games the way I do with high school sports.  There won’t be interviews with anyone post-game.

I did interview Tyler Murray pre-game today.  He’s the radio voice of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

I have only interviewed one minor league player.  I wanted to try it.  I got Mike Antonellis (then radio voice of the Portland Sea Dogs) to set me up to interview Bobby Dalbec.

Ronoldo Hernandez is Boston’s 11th prospect

I admit I was a bit nervous going into it because I hardly knew Bobby.  I don’t recall what I asked him but I do know that I got him to pose for a picture when the interview was over.  The picture IMO was a good one.

The only problem with the Bobby Dalbec interview was that I had forgotten to turn my digital recorder on!  Embarrassing, to say the least.  Maybe that’s why I stick to pictures when I go to minor league games.

When I saw that the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox farm team) were the opponent for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this afternoon, I made the arrangements to attend.

I NEVER go to a minor league game without knowing the names (numbers) of the top prospects on both teams.  I certainly want Red Sox prospects but often the other team has future stars as well.

My prospect chasing actually started in Portland when 19-year-old Bryce Harper was a late-in-the-season addition to the Harrisburg Senators.  When the Senators came to Portland I was able to find, and picture Bryce, even though he wasn’t playing. 

Triston Casas had a 3-run homer

I was after Triston Casas today.  The 20-year-old is Boston’s top prospect.  The first baseman is tall and powerful.  He had a three-run homer this afternoon. 

The Fisher Cats had numerous prospects on their roster.

“According to, the Fisher Cats have the third-most, loaded roster in minor league baseball,” Tyler Murray told me.

Simon Woods Richardson is the second-best pitcher in the Toronto minor league system.  He pitched last night.

Triston Casas heads for the dugout after signing a lot of autographs
Ball loose on a play at second base

Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans are former first-round picks.  Austin was chosen 5th last year while Jordan was chosen 12th in 2018.

Jordan was injured but I did get to see Austin.  He was in center this afternoon.  He is listed as the 22nd best prospect in the minors.  Jordan is a shortstop and he’s the 46th best prospect. 

Austin didn’t get any hits today, but he did have two outfield assists.

Gabriel Moreno is a catcher (He was the DH today) and is #7 on the Blue Jays prospect list.  He had a hit and an RBI today.

I saw two other Top Thirty prospects for Boston; Ronaldo Hernandez (11th) and Jeisson Rosario (21st).

The Sea Dogs won today’s game, 7-2, getting six runs off two relievers in the 8th and 9th innings.  Triston and Joey Menesses homered during the six-run rally.

Triston Casas takes a practice swing

Josh Winckowski started for the Sea Dogs.  He came from the New York Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City last year.

The Fisher Cats starter (Elvis Luciano) went out with an injury unable to finish the first inning.

Minor League Baseball has been keeping the media away from the teams.  “It’s been difficult to get to know the players personally because we’ve been separated from them,” said Tyler.

Those restrictions impact how close photographers can get too.  I now own a 600m lens and it came in handy today.

Tyler on how things are going: “Last night we had an awesome crowd.  We’ll be near to 100% capacity on June 1st.  Vaccinated fans don’t need to wear masks anymore.”

Jeisson Rosario in the Portland dugout

Tyler on how the stadium was used with no baseball last season: “We didn’t have baseball so we ended up hosting twenty special events, mostly high school and college graduations.  We have the room.  People had such a good time that we now have more graduations booked than last year.”

The scheduling is different.  The teams now play Tuesday-Sunday in the same city.  Monday is a travel day.

“I love the scheduling,” said Tyler.  “It saves travel.  We’d have a game end in New Jersey at 11PM and then have to drive to Maine.  We’d get in about 5AM.  It was tough with no days off. One city with consistent days off has been great so far.”

Austin Martin stretches pre-game

Tyler was excited about the future.  “It’s good to have the whole staff back.  Many staff members were furloughed during last season.”

More than 134 former Fisher Cats have appeared in the big leagues.  There are plenty of good players going through here.

Two years ago, I trekked to Manchester (NH) numerous times to see Vladi Guerrero, Bo Bichette, and Caven Biggio.

I would encourage folks to check out the Fisher Cats.  The stadium is a 42-minute ride from Amesbury via 495, 93, and 293. 

Being close to the action is guaranteed. Book a date, do your homework, and bring a camera.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Pitcher Willy Gaston
Vinny Capra (3 hits) leads off first base
Triston Casas returns to Portland dugout
Triston Casas at first base
Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
Roldani Baldwin being checked out after being hit by a pitch
1B Nick Podkul
LJ Talley 3B
SS Kevin Vicuna
Portland starter Josh Winckowski
Players interact
Jeisson Rosario batting
2B Grant Williams
Gabriel Moreno batting
Fisher Cats starter Elvis Luciano
Catcher Chris Bec
Austin Martin
Pitcher Andrew McInvale

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs

Field of Dreams 2019

Dylan Hardy and Brett Netzer

Out of the corn they came

Brock Lundquist had a homer and a triple

(Portland ME) The Portland Sea Dogs emerged in costume out of the cornfield set up in centerfield at Hadlock Field.

The 15th sellout crowd of the season then witnessed the Portland version of a segment of the baseball classic, “Field of Dreams.”

The reenactment was well done on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Radio announcer Mike Antonellis narrated the show dressed in appropriate attire.

I always like the show, but to me the best part is after the Portland Eskimos reach the infield.  They then go up into the crowd and thank folks for their support.  That’ll win you a lot of repeat customers!

There was also a baseball game played afterwards and it did not go well for the Sea Dogs.  The visiting New Hampshire Fisher Cats won easily, 7-1.  NH starter Yennsy Diaz held the home hitless into the seventh inning. The Dogs would only get one hit (Brett Netzer).

Josh Palacios had a homer for New Hampshire

Josh Palacios and Brock Lundquist homered for the team from Manchester (NH).

The teams will meet against tomorrow (Labor Day) to conclude their seasons.

I went to the game hoping to catch another look at Portland pitcher Daniel McGrath.  He was scheduled to start but got the call (yesterday?) to move up to Pawtucket to fill in there.  Daniel should start 2020 in Pawtucket with a chance to move to Fenway.  He’s that good, in my opinion.

This game was short on action because of the barrage of strikeouts.  Ten Sea Dogs K’d, and sixteen Fisher Cats were retired without contact.  For a team scoring seven runs (NH) it was hard to imagine how they could do it with that many strikeouts.  Josh Palacios was the only Fisher Cat who didn’t strike out.

Josh’s solo homer was pulled down the right field line.  Portland pitcher Matthew Gorst applied some body English to keep it foul, but it didn’t work.  I overheard Josh in the dugout say that “it started out foul and then came back fair.”

I continue to wish that minor league teams would wear uniforms with numbers on the front.  I am trying to set myself up with an excuse if I misidentify the pictures I took today.

Bag missed

Slugger did himself no favors in his baserunning competition with a youngster when he tried to compete out of uniform.  He was all gussied up with a top hat.  He didn’t even get into his starting stance, so I knew he was done for.  The most troubling part of today’s loss was that the opponent was in enemy (Fisher Cats) garb and never came close to touching third.  Slugger didn’t catch the baserunning shortcut and took yet another defeat in his usual classy way.  Maybe a video review will give the big guy today’s win?

Chris Cameron

Thanks (again) to Chris Cameron for enabling me to be in the best photography locations for yet another season.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.  Please let me know ( if I have inaccurately identified players, so that I can make the needed changes.)

Yennsy Diaz pitched superbly for New Hampshire

Nick Lovullo

Portland’s Marcus Wilson takes a lead

Shortstop Kevin Smith

Jarren Duran eyes a pitch

Fisher Cats dugout

Cullen Large 3B

Cullen Large with Coach Donnie Murphy

Bag stolen and a bubble blown

Adam Lau

Brock Lundquist

Dustin Feltman signed autographs before the game

Marcus Wilson

Nash Knight

Vinny Capra


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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs

Plenty of excitement as well as baseball at Hadlock as Reading wins 8-7 over Portland

The Philadelphia Phillies top prospect (Alec Bohm) played for the AA Reading Fighin Phils in Portland tonight.

(Portland ME) Ever watch a group of young kids attempt to play musical chairs with no idea what the object of the game is?

Musical chairs winner exits the winning seat

That, and plenty more, was part of the fun at Hadlock Field tonight.

Reading shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa strikes a pre-game post

And there was a ballgame too!

The Reading Fightin Phils won 8-7 in ten innings.

There were lengthy line hours before the gates opened thanks to a promotion that gifted the first one thousand customers with an Andrew Benintendi bobble head.

And to add to the excitement, the ten millionth fan also was noted on this night and that brought out the local TV networks.

I drove through thunder and lightning to get to the game. My intention was to check out the Phillies top prospect (Alec Bohm) and the other prospects of the National League team.

Alec is a tall (6-5) third baseman with a home run swing.  That swing produced a 4-base blast (his 13th) to centerfield off Konner Wade.

Alec was picked first by the Phillies (3rd overall) in 2018, out of Wichita State.  He is 23 and on the fast track to the big team.

Mickey Moniak

Mickey Moniak was a first-round pick in 2016 out of high school.  Only 21, the young outfielder is leading the Eastern League in triples.  He notched his 13th tonight.  Very aggressive at the plate.

Jarren Duran is the top Boston prospect still with Portland.  Bobby Dalbec and CJ Chatham have moved on to Pawtucket.  Jarren has the speed to turn a routine grounder to short into a close play.  I suspect that Jarren starts at Portland in 2020 but will reach Pawtucket during the season.

Outfielder Marcus Wilson is the other ranked prospect with Portland.  He had a homer tonight to send the game into extra innings.

Slugger comes close tonight

Slugger ran a solid race tonight.  He didn’t trip.  He didn’t engage someone/anyone in conversation and get side-tracked. On this night the competition was serious (the kid had a great shirt) but the big guy hung in there.  If the young man had faltered, Slugger was close enough near home plate to get there first…….but the kid didn’t falter and the losing streak continues.

Musical chairs, on this night, was the highlight of the between-innings activities in my opinion.  The young ladies involved were excited.  I’m guessing 5-year-olds.  It was quickly obvious that none of them had ever played musical chairs.  They saw chairs and they jumped on them!  Of course, you jump on an inflatable and it’s likely to fall over…and they did.  The music played and the girls were already all over the chairs.  Next they learned that they had to wait until the music stopped before taking a seat.  One girl waited beside an empty seat instead of getting into it.  That didn’t go so well for her. It was also interesting to watch the girls enlarge the circle by running around the Hadlock staff members as well as the chairs.  A winner was finally determined but because of the size discrepancy between the chair and the participant nearly vanished from sight.  The crowd loved it.

Happy musical chairs participants

Hadlock continues to be friendly for all ages and all levels of baseball IQ.  I highly recommend a visit there before the season ends in very early September.

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for enabling me to witness the activities at Hadlock.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Alec Bohm after striking out to end an inning

Alec Bohm congratulated after homer

Alec Bohm leads off first as Konner Wade pitches

Alec Bohm on first with 1B Joey Curletta

Alec Bohm takes a cut

Austin Rei

Brett Netzer

Charlie Madden

Cornelius Randolph

Daniel McGrath

David Parkinson

Grant Dyer, Jakob Hernandez, and Jeff Singer

Jarren Duran bats

Jarren Duran hustles to first

Jarren Duran

Jeremy Rivera

Jhon Nunez

1B Joey Curletta

Luke Williams

Marcus Wilson homered in the 9th

Mauricio Llovera

3B Mike Osinski

Nick Maton

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Filed under Portland, Portland Sea Dogs, Reading, Reading Fightin Phils

Daniel McGrath: How good is this bloke?

Daniel McGrath has been exceptional for Portland lately

One run in the last 59 innings

(Portland ME) The question needs to be asked after the Australian continued on a roll that has had him allow only ONE run in his last fifty-nine innings of pitching for the Portland Sea Dogs.

Daniel was connected to the Doncaster Dragon in Melbourne (Australia) seven years ago as a 17-year-old.  His pitching promise, while with the Dragons, attracted the interest of fifteen major league teams.  The Red Sox signed him for $400,000.

Since then?  He’s had his moments but has hardly turned a whole lot of heads……….until recently.

Daniel was the Player-of-the-Month in the Eastern League for July.

After tonight’s 1-0 win over the Erie SeaWolves, his ERA is a remarkable 1.34.  Daniel toiled seven innings versus Erie and allowed only three hits.  He’s struck out a season-high nine SeaWolves.

Daniel Pinero caught off base in the second inning

Erie had a great chance in the second to put a dent into Daniel’s ERA.  The visitors had runners on first and third with no outs.  But the lefty can not only pitch, he also has a nifty pickoff move.  Daniel Pinero was victimized straying from first and then the next two batters were retired with no runs scoring.

I’ll admit that I didn’t go to Hadlock Field last night to see Daniel McGrath.

It was Casey Mize I wanted to get a look at.  Casey is the Eastern League’s top prospect.  He was the first pick in the major league draft in 2018.  He dazzled at Auburn University averaging nearly thirteen strikeouts per game.

He was promoted to Erie this season after a few starts in the lower minors.  Result?  No-Hitter against Altoona in his first EL start!

Casey Mize gave up only five hits in six innings

Casey scuffled in his last start (Binghamton) allowing seven hits and six runs in 3 1/3 innings. He was much better tonight at Portland.

The native of Alabama allowed only five hits in six innings.  Now 6-2, he is very good but on this night, it was Daniel McGrath that had the buzz-worthy performance.

To watch Daniel pitch as masterfully as he did, couldn’t have come at a better time for Red Sox fans.  The last week has been a pitching nightmare for the Boston team.  Those expensive arms on the Big Club have been a tough watch night after night.

Daniel pitched once at Pawtucket (AAA) this season.  He certainly has earned some more time there.  I hope it happens.

Nice crowd with nice weather.

Casey Mize was the first pick in the 2018 major league draft

I have always had the sense that most attendees to minor league games know little about the players.  Tonight was a bit different.  As I waited to get pictures of Casey Mize warming up, there was a good collection of fans nearby doing the same thing.  They had heard about Casey Mize.

Casey, by the way, will reach the majors by this time next year.  He’s just too good to hold back.  Plus they invested $7,500,000 on him when they signed him.

Slugger was in camouflage gear carrying a branch.  It is fair to say that the Big Guy can not be carrying things and expect to compete.  The competition tonight was short in size as well as short in experience.  The young opponent had to be guided onto the field, around the bases, and off the field………..and still he wasted Slugger.  Embarrassing.

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging the pleasant visit for me.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Brett Netzer – had the Sea Dogs RBI

Casey Mize

Casey Mize

CJ Chatham

CJ Chatham – leads EL in hitting

Daniel McGrath between innings

Derek Hill – 28th on Tigers prospect list

Luke Tendler (10) slides back into 3rd

Marcus Wilson – 18th on Red Sox prospect list

Matthew Gorst was signing before the game

Slugger’s opponent

Isaac Paredes 5th best prospect in the Detroit farm system

Jhon Nunez (catcher)

Joey Curletta

Josh Lester at 3B

Diving back to first




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Filed under Erie Seawolves, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs