Game One versus Reading!

I agree with many fans who say that Opening Day should be a holiday.  I’ve gotten so many e-mails and text messages, wishing me a Happy Opening Day.  This is truly one special day.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The Portland Sea Dogs begin their 18th season in the Eastern League, as they open up a four-game series against the Reading Phillies at Hadlock Field…Portland finished last season 70-71 (3rd place), and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season…Reading went 69-72 (4th place), but 10-4 against the Sea Dogs, including seven straight wins at First Energy Stadium…Ryan Kalish led off last season with a homer in Reading, leading the ‘Dogs to their lone win at First Energy Stadium.

LET’S START THE SHOW: The Sea Dogs are 8-9 All-Time in season openers after last year’s win in Reading…Portland opened the 2009 campaign at Hadlock Field, but suffered a 3-0 loss to the Connecticut Defenders (now the Richmond Flying Squirrels).

INTRODUCING THE TEAM: Eastern League rosters consist of 24 players for the entire season…Portland has 13 players returning from the 2010 season and two players on Boston’s 40-man roster: Starting pitcher RHP Stolmy Pimentel and INF Oscar Tejeda, both are ranked as Top 10 prospects (Pimentel #6 & Tejeda #10)…The Sea Dogs have seven of Boston’s Top 30 prospects according to Baseball America.

Top Prospects on Portland’s roster according to Baseball America: Pimentel, Tejeda, Will Middlebrooks (# 11), Ryan Lavarnway (# 16), Alex Wilson (# 19), Tim Federowicz (# 21), and Che-Hsuan Lin (# 25)…Lavarnway, Lin and Wilson made their Double-A debuts last season in Portland. 

NEARLY PERFECT: The 2011 active roster features 23 of the 24 players that were originally signed by the Boston Red Sox…RHP Santo Luis was acquired off waivers by Boston last April from the Chicago White Sox and spent most of the season with Portland, before being promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.

NEW ADDITION TO THE STAFF: Kevin Boles begins his first season as manager of the Portland Sea Dogs…Last year, he managed the Salem Red Sox and posted a 73-65 record…Boles served as the Sea Dogs’ bullpen catcher in 1997, and his father John Boles is a member of the Portland Sea Dogs Hall of Fame…Hitting coach Dave Joppie, Pitching coach Bob Kipper, coach Mickey Jiang, and Athletic Trainer Paul Buchheit all return to Portland…Chris Jones is the new assistant trainer.

WHAT’S ON DECK: The Sea Dogs and Reading Phillies continue their opening series of the season tomorrow night at Hadlock Field…After four games with the R-Phils, Portland entertains the Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate) on Monday night to start a three-game series.

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