On her way home from work Monday afternoon, Gail Martin of Saco pulled into the parking lot at Hadlock Field, not far from the Slugger statue, and parked alongside one of four well-spaced tables.

Restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic have forestalled the Portland Sea Dogs minor league season, but Martin was able to partake in one of the joys of summer – ballpark food. The Sea Dogs began offering some of their concession food for curbside pickup or local delivery Monday and planned to continue the practice for lunch and dinner weekdays at least through June 26.

Gail Martin of Saco picks up a bag of ballpark food delivered by Emma Tiedemann on Monday during the Portland Sea Dogs’ first day offering curbside service of souvenirs and concessions. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“Everybody’s craving baseball,” she said. “You might as well get at least a taste of it.”

Martin, 47, said she ordered a little bit of everything – hot dog, french fries, popcorn chicken – and planned to surprise her sister with a delivery. She said they usually attend 10 to 12 games a season.

“You go to the game and you want to hear the crack of the bat and the slap of the glove,” she said, “but the food’s just as important.”

Front-office employees of the Sea Dogs returned to work on June 1 under the staged reopening plan by Gov. Janet Mills following more than two months of stay-at-home directives aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Online ordering and curbside pickup of souvenir merchandise has been available, and the Sea Dogs added a food option Monday.

Mike Fletcher, 68, of South Portland was first to arrive, along with his wife and daughter. Their order included six hot dogs, two small fries and a Brightside IPA from Lone Pine Brewing.

“We weren’t able to go to the home opener and figured this was the next best thing,” Fletcher said. “Enjoy a hot dog and a beer and pretend we’re watching the game.”

Fletcher, who had placed his order online Sunday, discovered upon arrival that it had not been received. His family waited patiently inside their pickup truck and was rewarded with a visit by team mascot Slugger while their food was being prepared.

“It would have been a great day for a ballgame,” Fletcher said. “Bright sun and a bit of a breeze.”

Jeff Begin, 69, a longtime season-ticket holder from Cumberland, stopped by to pick up a sausage sub, cheeseburger, popcorn chicken and fries. He said he would be sharing the food with his wife.

“I couldn’t wait to get back here,” he said. “It’s time for baseball.”

Debbie Boland and her husband, Jack, decided to pick up lunch on their way to Freeport. They are from Massachusetts, but have a summer home in Wells.

“We’re thinking we’re not going to see a game this season,” she said, “so this is as close as we can get.”

Emma Tiedemann, the Sea Dogs’ new radio broadcaster, delivers food and souvenirs during the ballpark’s new curbside service on Monday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Among the employees who ferried food from a concession stand inside the concourse to the tables adjacent to the parking lot was Emma Tiedemann, hired over the winter to replace Mike Antonellis as the team’s radio broadcaster. In late March, Tiedemann’s first day in the office turned out to be the day all employees were sent home because of coronavirus precautions.

Over the past two months, she got to know her new colleagues through Zoom calls.

“It’s been kind of odd,” she said. “Now, with the hot dogs and french fries and chicken, it’s smelling more like it should in June. I just wish that we had some baseball.”

Noticeably missing from the limited menu is the Sea Dogs Biscuit – vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies – a treat many consider Hadlock’s signature item.

Last week, the Sea Dogs severed ties with the vendor, Sanf0rd-based Shain’s of Maine, after allegations of racial bias surfaced in the middle of a week that saw worldwide protests of systemic racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The company had been supplying biscuits to the Sea Dogs since they began playing in Portland in 1994.

Geoff Iacuessa, the Sea Dogs president and general manager, said the biscuits were supposed to have been on the takeout menu, and a search is under way for a new ice cream vendor.

He said the team does not store food at Hadlock over the winter and had not taken delivery of any biscuits this spring.


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