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Professional baseball without the traffic, travel, high costs in Stockton & Modesto
nuts catcher
San Jose catcher Rayner Santana throws to first during Sunday’s California League game in Modesto. The Giants topped the Modesto Nuts 6-5 in the 10th inning.

MODESTO – For those who like professional baseball but do not care to deal with the traffic, parking, crowds and most of all the cost of Major League Baseball, those of us here in San Joaquin County have two Minor League Baseball options – the Ports in Stockton and the Nuts in Modesto.

The Ports are the Low-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s and play at Banner Island Ballpark and the Nuts are the Low-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners and both teams play in the California League.

While Major League Baseball (MLB) has adopted the universal designated hitter and will start extra innings with a runner on second base, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) has taken things a few steps further – the pitch clock from last year returns, no infield over-shifting is allowed as there must be two infielders on either side of second base and all four infielders must have both feet on the infield dirt, base size has expanded from 15- to 18-square inches and during each plate appearance, the pitcher will be allowed two pickoff attempts. If the third does not record an out, the runner will advance one base.

Stockton’s games are played at Banner Island Ballpark which was christened in 2005. Modesto’s John Thurman Field has a few years on Banner Island – maybe more than a few – having opened in 1955.

Not matter the ball park, MiLB games are designed to entertain. Between innings at John Thurman Field on Sunday there was a sack race on the field, a contest where the winner is decided by how much water you can get into a bucket on your partner’s head using a big squirt gun and a “Gobble-de-Gook” contest where the participant needs to determine if a word is real or made up.

This week, the Nuts travel north to play the Ports in a six-game series starting tonight at 7:05, and there is a different promotion every game. Tonight is a magnet schedule giveaway along with fireworks, Wednesday is Silver Sluggers and Wine Wednesday, Thursday is $1 beer night, Friday is Ports Blanket Giveaway, Saturday is Fireworks and Sunday is the Ports Sunglasses giveaway.

Fans 55 years and older can Join the Silver Sluggers for $35. Benefits include an official membership card good for free admission to all 2022 Wednesday home games, a Specialty Silver Slugger Shirt, a Silver Slugger Meal Deal Card and attendance incentives.  

For Stockton Ports tickets and other information go to You can secure tickets and information on the Modesto Nuts at