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Take in baseball game with dad at Banner Island

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Take in baseball game with dad at Banner Island

The Back Porch at Banner Island where the Stockton Ports play.

Photo contributed/

POSTED June 8, 2013 2:15 a.m.

STOCKTON - When Banner Island Ballpark opened some eight years ago, I quickly found Home Run Hill to my liking, especially on those warm summer evenings.

Back then, the Stockton Ports, a Class-A (Advanced) affiliation of the Oakland Athletics, had Travis Buck in the outfield, Daric Barton at first, and Kurt Suzuki behind the plate. All three became the first wave of young talent from this edition of the Ports to make the jump to the Show.

Over the years, I’ve sat in various locations throughout the park, including Section 107 next to the visitor’s dugout. Paul Goldschmidt, currently with the Arizona Diamondbacks, wowed the local crowd when he was with the Visalia Rawhide.

Other notable visitors included Buster Posey during his days with the San Jose Giants and first baseman Brandon Belt on a rehab assignment with the San Francisco Giants.

Many of the players on the A’s current roster were former Ports – try third baseman Josh Donaldson (then a catcher), relief pitcher Sean Doolittle (a former first baseman), and starters Bret Anderson, Dan Straily, and A.J. Griffith, to name a few.

If I were to catch a game this weekend – plausible since the Ports host the Modesto Nuts – my preference would still be the right-field section known as the Metro PCS Home Run Hill. On the other side of that is the Deep Water Channel, where even a slight breeze over the water could make for a rather pleasant evening along this grassy area of the park.

While it’s not the ideal place to see, say, highly-touted young shortstop Addison Russell, Home Run Hill is still the place to meet and socialize during the game. The denizens here are Little League players, families, and teenagers.

As a park, Banner Island received a favorable write-up on

“The park follows the familiar template of having the concourse over the field and wrap around the entire park,” said Brian Merzbach, who visited 443 different minor league stadiums over the past 20 years.

“The concourse is covered from first base to third base, but no luxury boxes are stacked on top. Instead, the luxury boxes are located at the concourse level on the first base side. Seating extends from one foul line to the other, meaning that no seats are too far from the field, but that some are aways from the infield,” he added.

Merzbach also favors the reasonably priced concessions, the “Back Porch” in right field featuring 50 rocking chairs, and the batting cages located along the first base concourse.


The Bulletin

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