Head groundskeeper Rick Anderson shares a laugh with his assistant Jason Cooke just before game time on opening day at Hadlock Field Thursday. A scant two weeks earlier, the field was covered in nearly a foot of snow. Buy Photo
Portland Sea Dogs infielder Xavier Bogaerts stands ready to take the field in Portland Thursday on opening day. The field was covered in snow two weeks earlier. Buy Photo
PORTLAND, Maine — Rick Anderson, head groundskeeper at Hadlock Field, walked behind the snowblower, leaving a stripe of green. The field, where the Boston Red Sox Double-A affiliate Portland Sea Dogs play their home games, was covered, from the center field 400-foot mark to home plate, with almost a foot of snow. And there was just two weeks to go before opening day.
In their 20 years in Portland, the Sea Dogs had only delayed opening day four times. They’d even gone so far in years past as to have a helicopter hover over the field to try to dry it out. So Anderson and his crew weren’t that worried.
“I’m pleased,” said assistant head groundskeeper Jason Cooke on opening day Thursday as he and Anderson surveyed the field.
The grounds crew performed their regular duties as the crowd filed in. They dragged and wet the infield. They painted foul lines. They spruced up home plate and the pitching rubber.
The opening lineups were announced. The national anthem was sung. The umpire shouted, “Play ball,” and another season got under way.