Beek's Blog

Sports news scattered with occasional travel, music

Beek’s Blog: Nuts facing two VOL pitchers; Ice Challenge accepted (with video)

08/18/2014 5:42 PM

08/18/2014 5:43 PM

Root, root, root for the visiting pitcher?

The Modesto Nuts are in the unique position of going up against homegrown starters – both Valley Oak League alums – on Monday and Tuesday.

Visalia’s starter on Monday, in the final game of the Nuts’ seven-game homestand, was Spencer Arroyo (5-6, 4.61,) who played at East Union High and Modesto Junior College.

Modesto takes to the road on Tuesday to open a three-game set at San Jose, and the Giants have announced that Nick Vander Tuig (2-0, 0.95 in five California League starts) will start the opener at Municipal Stadium. Vander Tuig is a product of Oakdale High and UCLA, where he was a teammate of Nuts Pat Valaika and Dean Espy.


The Modesto Nuts couldn’t follow-through after Sunday’s loss on the Ice Bucket Challenge sent their way by the short-season Grand Junction Rockies, but the majority of the roster felt the cold about two hours before Monday’s first pitch.

With manager Don Sneddon first extending the challenge – a fund and awareness raiser for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) – to the rest of the California League, members of the Nuts stood on the top step of the home dugout and had to wear it as the Modesto front office dumped buckets of ice water over the players.

While the players screamed and shrieked as the water poured down, they actually chose a pretty convenient time to stage the stunt. It came right at the end of batting practice, right after the team had spent more than an hour in the August heat, the scoreboard thermometer reading 96 degrees.

The Modesto player who officially accepted the challenge was Devin Burke, who also took care of the details – collecting the buckets, moving them to the top of the dugout, filling them with ice and water, and cleaning up afterward – all before he took the mound as the Nuts’ starting pitcher.

The Nuts’ production crew captured the moment on video, and you can watch it HERE.

About This Blog

Sports writer Brian VanderBeek writes about the Modesto Nuts, high school and college sports, with lapses into music, golf and travel. @ModestoBeek

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