The Portland Sea Dogs' 2012 home opener is slated for Thursday, April 12th at 6:00 PM against the Binghamton Mets. The 2012 season will be the Sea Dogs' 19th in Portland and tenth as an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Opening Day ceremonies will feature a tribute to Sea Dogs' founder Dan Burke who passed away on October 26, 2011.
In the spring of 1992, Dan Burke, then the CEO of Capital Cities, ABC, Inc. applied for one of two expansion franchises available at the Class AA level of Minor League Baseball. Burke's hope was to bring professional baseball back to Portland. Maine's largest city had been without a pro baseball franchise since the 1940's. One of thirteen applicants for the two franchises, Dan worked diligently to make his dream a reality. In October, 1992 Portland and New Haven were selected to join the Eastern League as new entries for the 1994 season. In 2003, Dan was instrumental in bringing the Boston Red Sox to Portland as the Sea Dogs' new affiliate replacing the Florida Marlins. In 2006, the Sea Dogs captured their first Eastern League Championship. Thanks to Burke's efforts more than seven million fans have enjoyed Sea Dogs' baseball at Hadlock Field.
Opening ceremonies will include a moment of silence to remember Burke.
A video tribute of Burke, produced by ABC News and voiced by retired ABC News personality Charlie Gibson, will be played on the Hadlock Field video board. The video documents Burke's life with a focus of making his dream of bringing professional baseball back to his beloved State of Maine a reality.
In Burke's honor, the Sea Dogs will wear a patch with Burke's initials "DBB" on their uniform throughout the season.
The Massabesic High School Concert Band will perform the National Anthem. The band, 30 members strong, is under the direction of Joe Abbiati. The band has won championships at the Berklee Jazz Festival and the UNH/Clark Terry Jazz Festival as well as many gold medals at district and state large group festivals. They have also been featured on National Public Radio's weekly show "From the Top" and toured Europe playing in some of the world's greatest performance halls under the baton of Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Sea Dogs will be providing over 475 Portland students with free tickets to Opening Day. The Sea Dogs partnered with the Portland Recreation Department and the Portland Public Library to have students "Read Their Way to Opening Day" through a reading challenge put forth by Slugger and the Sea Dogs. The 475 students who met the Sea Dogs' challenge will participant in an on field parade on Opening Day.
As fans enter the park they will be greeted by the Bellamy Jazz Band. Gates will open at 4:00 PM. Pre-game ceremonies will begin at approximately 5:50 PM, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM.
Schedule of Events:
4:00 PM- Gates Open
5:15 PM- Read Your Way to Opening Day Parade Around the Warning Track
5:50 PM- Team Introductions
5:57 PM- Moment of Silence
6:00 PM- National Anthem
6:02 PM- Dan Burke Memorial Video
6:08 PM- Team takes the field
6:09 PM- Ceremonial First-Pitch
6:10 PM- Game Time
Tickets for Opening Day and all Sea Dogs' home games are available and can be purchased by calling the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 207-879-9500 or online at www.seadogs.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.