Down East 2013 ©
On Sunday, April 26, a snowman showed up at Hadlock Field in Portland.
Never mind that the temperature was in the low 70s, and the sun shone intermittently. Forget about the flowers blooming on bushes next to the Expo building. Ignore the trees that were showing hints of green in Deering Oaks. And dismiss all those fans of the Portland Sea Dogs minor-league baseball team who showed up at the ballpark dressed in tank tops and shorts.
The snowman put a chill in the air that felt like mid-January.
Of course, this snowman wasn’t made of actual snow. It was composed of timely hitting by the Connecticut Defenders (Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants), as well as poor pitching and sloppy fielding by the Sea Dogs (Double-A affiliate of the Red Sox, although Boston could be excused for refusing to acknowledge that relationship after this disastrous game), all of which resulted in the visiting team plating eight runs in the third inning. As Defenders manager Steve Decker explained to fans sitting along the third-base line, ballplayers call an “8” on the scoreboard in a single inning “a snowman.”
Portland topped that in the sixth inning by scoring 10 runs, which is what ballplayers call “a lot,” but it wasn’t enough, as the Dogs went down to defeat 20-15, the highest combined run total in franchise history. 
The four-hour-plus game also set the mark for most hits (43).
It wasn’t pretty, but it was fun to watch – in a sick kind of way.
In other sports news, somebody broke into Hadlock while the Dogs were on a recent road trip and stole seven of the big jerseys commemorating ex-Portland players now with the parent Sox that are displayed above the grandstands .
If you see a suspicious person dressed like an oversized Kevin Youkilis, call the cops immediately. Do not attempt to apprehend the suspect yourself, and above all, do not ask for an autograph.
Portland will host the 2010 American Hockey League All-Star game next January. 
It’s the second time the annual event has been held in the city. Besides hockey-related activities, organizers plan to wow visitors with award presentations, a dance, an Old Port pub crawl and a snowman building contest.
OK, I made one of those up.
It wasn’t the pub crawl.
No sooner had the All-Star game been announced than the Portland Pirates, top farm team for the NHL Buffalo Sabres, got knocked out of the playoffs by the Providence Bruins. 
Even so, officials from the parent team said they were happy with their first year in Portland (they really appreciated the gift of the huge Dustin Pedroia jersey) and looked forward to continuing the relationship (provided they get a Josh Beckett jersey next year ).
As for football, no University of Maine players were taken in the NFL draft, but two were signed as free agents after the draft ended on April 26. 
Unfortunately, one of them went to the woeful Detroit Lions, where his chances of winning a Super Bowl are roughly equivalent to that of a snowman in you know where.
No, not Hadlock.
On to the crime beat, where I was shocked to learn that a new form of nefarious conduct has infected Maine. The illegal activity of the week is:
By which I do not mean dealing from the bottom of the deck in canasta. It also has nothing to do with rule violations in shuffleboard. And you’ll be relieved to know you won’t be pinched by the police for scuffing your feet on public sidewalks. (Local law enforcement is much too busy following up leads of someone dressed as an enormous Jacoby Ellsbury shopping at Marden’s.)
The legal definition of shuffling is – before you read this, you might want to tell the kids to leave the room – moving a car from one space to another to avoid time limits on parking. 
It’s just one more sign of society’s moral decay.
This week, the Farmington Board of Selectmen (motto: We Have Way Too Much Time On Our Hands) will consider passing an ordinance making this activity illegal and subject to a stiff fine. Because as any sensible person knows, shuffling is a gateway crime. Once it takes hold in a community, it’s only a matter of time before everybody is trying to swipe oversized sports uniforms.
In Kennebunkport, they know how to deal with threats to the peace and well-being of their beaches. They employ deadly force.
If that seems extreme, keep in mind that nobody in Kennebunkport dares to go parading around in a purloined Jonathan Papelbon jersey (size XXXXXL).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is protecting the dwindling population of piping plovers in the area by trapping and killing raccoons, skunks, foxes and other beasts that prey on the endangered birds.
In the last five years, the number of plovers in the state has declined from 66 pairs to just 24, in part because they’re considered a delicacy by crows, opossums and minks.
Shuffling is also believed to be responsible.
On the economic front, it was a mixed week. If by “mixed,” you mean “bad.”
L.L. Bean in Freeport announced it was cutting 200 jobs. 
State officials said the size of the shortfall in the next budget has grown by nearly $600 million because of declining state revenues. 
And housing sales continued their sharp decline, dropping 14 percent in March  compared to the previous year.
The median price on homes that did sell was off, as well, by 20 percent. In Washington County, sales figures were actually up slightly, but the median price took a huge hit, going from $136,000 last year to just $35,700 in 2009.
That’s not a typo.
Convenience stores in Maine  may soon be as endangered as piping plovers and spring snowmen. Figures compiled by an industry group show 56 went out of business last year, about 5 percent of the total number in the state.
The shutdowns are being blamed on tight credit, low profit margins on gasoline, and attacks by raccoons and foxes.
On the bright side, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard  is expected to hire 405 new workers this year because of an increased workload.
And Bath Iron Works  is considering ways to maintain its workforce by building offshore wind turbines.
There’s no truth to the rumor that BIW is planning to start construction of steroid-sized Red Sox jerseys.
Finally, turning to the arts, there’s good news. Portland native Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her short story collection “Olive Kitteridge.”
The two guys from Buckfield who came up with that video of gushing fountains of Diet Coke and Mentos are up for a Webby award for their new piece using Post-It notes. 
A Webby? I assume the dinner honoring the winner will feature roast duck.
The automobile orchestra returns to Farmington (motto: Even While The Orchestra Is Playing, It Is Illegal In This Town To Dance The Shuffle ) on April 29.
Thirty-five cars will assemble in a circle to gun their engines, slam their doors and switch on and off their radios, as they play an original work titled “Nobody In Their Right Mind Would Steal A Manny Delcarmen Jersey.”
That’s colder than a snowman.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.