The final day of the season for the Modesto Nuts brought a personal rooting section for Jordan Ribera, an on-field post-anthem standoff (won by Stockton) and clubhouse ribbing for Modesto’s Mike Tauchman, who entered the game hitting .299.
But it also featured the rare sight of Modesto players packing their bags before the final regular season game. This is the first time since 2006 and only the fourth time since the 1997 renovation of John Thurman Field that Modesto will not be involved in postseason play.
In the other dugout, Stockton is primed to make a run at the California League title. The Ports not only won the second half in the North Division, carrying a 48-21 record into Monday’s game, but at 85-54 they have the league’s best overall record.
Stockton will open the best-of-three first round series Wednesday at Visalia, with the winner taking on Bakersfield for the North title. By the way, this is the first time since 2003 that San Jose missed the playoffs.
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Stockton manager Ryan Christenson was named the California League manager of the year, but I asked him to go a little deeper into his memory. As a player with Visalia in 1997, Christenson was part of the strange era in which Oakland and San Francisco both had two Cal League affiliates. The A’s were in Modesto and Visalia, while the Giants were in San Jose and Bakersfield.
Here’s my video chat with Christenson.