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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Originally built in 1915 by the Goodall family and Goodall Industries, much of Goodall Park was rebuilt in 1997 following a fire that destroyed the original wooden grandstand. The new grandstand was designed to replicate the historic architectural features of the original while providing modern amenities of newer ballparks.
The Sanford Mariners have called Goodall Park home since their inception in 2002. They compete in the New England Summer Collegiate Baseball League, and have won championships in 2004 and 2008.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is a permanent concession stand located underneath the grandstand at Goodall Park which offers pulled pork sandwiches ($3.50), nachos ($2), pretzels ($2), popcorn ($2/$3.50), strawberry shortcakes ($2), and moose pies ($2). Moose pies are not what you think, they are an ice cream cookie sandwich, and are very tasty on a warm summer night. Bottles of Coca-Cola products are available for $2.
For fans looking for more traditional fare, there is a BBQ stand in right field which offers hot dogs ($2), hamburgers ($2.50), French fries ($2.50), and chicken fingers ($3). Fried dough is also sold here for $3. The prices here can't be beat, and the food quality is decent as well.
People from Maine have a well-deserved reputation of being laid-back and polite. How Mainers earned this reputation is on display at Goodall Park. Fans here are welcoming of out-of-towners, and it's not unusual to come away from a game here having made some new friends.
The laid-back Maine attitude extends to all aspects of a Mainers game. Fans are quiet for the most part, and it's not unusual to hear cheers for both teams throughout the game. But when the Mainers score, watch out, 500 fans can make an awful lot of noise.
Sanford is a sleepy town in southern Maine. Goodall Park is located about a block away from Main Street, just behind city hall. The area directly around the ballpark is surprisingly built up for a town the size of Sanford, and is full of stores and chain restaurants. Fans looking for a quick meal before or after the game will have no problem filling their bellies. Still, there is not a whole lot to see or do in Sanford, and most fans traveling from out of town will most likely venture on to Portland, a short 45 minute drive away, or Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 45 minutes to the south. The wonderful beaches of southern Maine and New Hampshire are nearby as well.
The Mainers will never lead the NECBL in attendance, as the small size of Goodall Park limits the amount of fans that can attend their games. However, fans regularly pack the ballpark and are louder than you may expect, considering the laid-back reputation of the population of Maine. Expect to see a lot of kids running around in the paved area behind the bleachers along the right field line chasing foul balls and generally having a great time. The Mainers average right around 500 fans per game in a ballpark that seats 1,000. Not bad for this level of baseball.
Sanford is a small town of just over 20,000 residents in southern Maine halfway between the coastline and the New Hampshire border. Fans traveling to Sanford will take Interstate 95 to Route 109, and follow it for about 15 miles to Sanford. Goodall Park is located just off of Main Street.
Parking is available both on-street near the park, in a small lot across the street from Goodall Park, and up the hill in the City Hall parking lot. There is no charge for parking. The majority of seating in Goodall Park is located in the grandstand behind home plate, which features general admission seating. Season ticket holders get first shot at the seats in the middle sections, but after the second inning any fan can sit in any seat. A net completely covers the front of the grandstand, so it can have a confining feeling at times. Fans looking for a little room to spread out can head to a set of metal bleachers located on the right field line. Fans will have no problem making their way around the ballpark, as there is plenty of room to roam outside of the main grandstand.
There is a set of restrooms located underneath the grandstand, and they are more than large enough for the crowds present at Goodall Park.
Admission to a Mainers game is $5, with a discounted price of $3 for youth, seniors, and military. All parking in the immediate area of Goodall Park is free. With inexpensive prices for food at the park, a night watching the Mainers play is a very affordable way to spend a summer night in southern Maine.
As you may expect from an old-timey ballpark like Goodall Park, there is not a whole lot going on besides the game on the field. The Mainers game day staff, however, do have a few tricks up their sleeve to keep fans interested and occupied. The between-inning t-shirt toss is something you see a lot at different ballparks, but the Mainers improve upon that by also throwing bags of Big League Chew to eager young fans.
The Mainers hold a 50/50 raffle at home games, and give away complimentary roster sheets for fans entering Goodall Park.
Goodall Park and Sanford, Maine are well off the beaten path. It's one of those places you don't stumble upon by accident. But if you do find yourself in Sanford, do yourself a favor and catch a game at Goodall Park. The rebuilt grandstand is only 20 years old, but has a wonderful old-time feel to it. Several Mainers players have made it to the major leagues over the years, so you may be watching a future all-star in the making.
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16 School St
Sanford, ME 04073
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