A few staunch holdouts remain, but for about 99.8 percent of the locals who make up the Modesto minor-league baseball ticket base, the name of the team no longer is an issue.
For the Nuts, that’s something to celebrate. Well, that and the 10-year anniversary of Al, Wally and the affiliation with the Colorado Rockies.
The California League franchise will be marking the name and the relationship with a season-long calendar of events under the umbrella slogan “10 Years of Going Nuts,” starting with the April 16 home opener against Inland Empire at John Thurman Field.
Highlighting the promotional calendar will be 23 fireworks shows (every Friday and Saturday night, including Friday, July 3, in addition to other occasions) and a series of four specialty jerseys.
This year, in addition to the pink jersey auction at the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night (May 23), the Nuts will be sporting three jerseys commemorating the 10th season of Nuts baseball.
One is an alternate jersey that will be worn at every Friday home game, and the others come under the category of “what could have been.” While you might remember the Nuts nickname was chosen through a fan contest, the other finalists may have escaped the memory banks of many.
So the Nuts’ front office has designed two jerseys to show fans what might have been worn had a different name been chosen. On July 18, the team will take the field as the Modesto Dusters, with the jersey auction benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Stanislaus County. On Aug. 14, the team will wear Modesto Cruisers uniform tops, with those also slated to be auctioned for charity.
“Other minor-league teams have done the what-might-have-been nights, but we thought it would be kind of cool to remind the fans about that,” Nuts general manager Tyler Richardson said.
And about the promotion, he admitted it can be difficult to stretch a theme across an entire season but added there will be enough reminders and different styles of promotion to keep the theme fresh. For instance, he said there will be nights when past players and great stadium moments are remembered and others when long-time sponsors and season-ticker holders will be honored.
“We’re excited about the commemorative jerseys every Friday as well as the moments,” Richardson said. “We’re hoping ... the season-long consistency of the promotion and the fact that we’re doing something every Friday to mark the anniversary will give the promotion staying power.”
In addition to the 10-year promotions and the annual collection of themed nights, the Nuts also have regular promotions earmarked for most nights during the week.
Make Mondays Matter is a promotion that allows any fan to receive a complimentary general admission ticket by donating two items of gently-used clothing, two books or two cans of food.
One Buck Wednesdays offers fans $1 hot dogs, soft drinks and snacks, with select beers available for $2. Thursdays bring $2 tacos, paired with $2 wines.
Fridays and Saturdays are fireworks nights, and on Sunday, families can come on the field to play catch for the first 30 minutes after the gates open.
“There are a lot of memories related to the anniversary – from the name change to the players that have been here, through the rehab appearances of players like Barry Zito and Randy Johnson,” Richardson said. “We’re doing a lot of things so that fans can remember the fun times we’ve all had at the ballpark.”
Riverbank grad earns softball honor – Aimee Lopez, a senior shortstop at Division II Felician College in Rutherford, N.J., was chosen as the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference softball Player of the Week after going 8 for 16 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Lopez, a Riverbank High graduate, is surrounded by familiar faces on the Golden Falcons’ roster, which features her sister Amanda Lopez, a junior transfer from Cal State San Bernardino, as well as Escalon graduate Katie Heflin, a senior first baseman. Felician lists nine Californians on its 17-player roster.
Berumen joins U-14 team in Argentina – Ed Berumen of Salida wrapped up a tour of Argentina on Tuesday, playing for the United States Id2 under-14 national team. Berumen plays in the Modesto Ajax Soccer Club and was one of 18 players (nine from California) chosen to make the trip to compete against elite South American teams. Players were chosen for the team based on their performance in Id2-sponsored events and camps, with the trip sponsored by US Club Soccer and Nike.