STOCKTON — When the Stockton Ports’ season opener Thursday when they host the Modesto Nuts they will unveil new items and programs around Banner Island Ballpark.
uNew in Tickets: Five sets of 4Topps have been installed at Banner Island Ballpark, two of which can be seen at the top of Section 111, located behind home plate, and three additional sets are located at the top of Section 115, located behind the home dugout. In addition to the semi-circle tables and four swivel seats, season ticket holders of the 4Topps also receive wait staff throughout the game.
The Ports have also added a new hospitality area to the ballpark above Section 121, Alexander’s Fan Cave, for fans to rent out for ten or more guests, providing an option for smaller groups in the ballpark. Four different catered meal packages are offered in the premium seating area, sponsored by Alexander’s Furniture, including Hawaiian-glazed or BBQ chicken, ball-tip, dry-rub ribs, and hot dog menus.
uNew in the Ballpark: Fans will now see recycling bins throughout the ballpark, courtesy of the City of Stockton. This comes as part of the Ports’ efforts to make Banner Island Ballpark more environmentally-friendly.
The Ports are teaming up with Valley First Credit Union for the ballpark’s new Community Corner, in which the Ports and Valley First Credit Union will split the donation of 1,250 tickets to local non-profit organizations to attend games in 2016.
uNew in Merchandise: New in the team store this year, fans can spot the Ports’ “209 Tough” attire, a tribute to the Stockton area code, which includes sweatshirts, t-shirts, and tank tops. Additional merchandise available includes new women’s attire, a baby Splash logo, hats and beanies, and blankets. The Ports will also unveil their new Bay-to-Bay logo leading up to the San Jose Giants’ series, which reflects the local rivalry between the two teams.
uCulinary Options: Starting in 2016, fans can take advantage of the Ports’ “Grub Club”, in which children 12 and under can receive a meal and Kids’ Zone package for only $10 per game, per person, which is valued at $15 and offered during Sunday-Wednesday home games (excluding 5/3 and 7/4). Items in the package include a hot dog, Fruit Shoot, popcorn, ice cream cone, and turn down the slide.
Fans will also notice the new Centerfield Micro-Pub, where they can find Carolina pulled pork sandwiches and nachos, in addition to new beer options. The asparagus cart located at the top of Section 117 will now serve Gourmet Naan Pizza, while fans can now get churros at two different stands located in the ballpark, one near the front gate and one by the Kids’ Zone. The Volcano Splash stand is introducing a new healthy option, apple nachos, while Alpine will be the hot dog provider in 2016. Additionally, Aquafina will now be served throughout the ballpark, and fans can find club soda at select stands, as well.
uFan Interaction and Promotions: The Ports’ annual FanFest, scheduled for Saturday, April 9, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., is now allowing fans to stick around following a lunch to watch the Ports’ batting practice that day. Fans will still be able to have a meet and greet with players, hit in the Ports’ batting cages, and kids 12 and under can visit the Kids’ Zone.
Ports fans can bid during five themed jersey auctions this year. In addition to the yearly Knock Prostate Cancer out of the Ballpark (Friday, June 24) and Pink Night (Saturday, Aug. 20) auctions, the Ports are bringing back the Independence Day (Monday, July 4) jersey and are excited to have their first Asparagus and Space Jam-themed jerseys, as well, on Saturday, May 21, and Saturday, July 30, respectively.
uOn the Field: In addition to the familiar face of manager Rick Magnante, the Ports will welcome newcomers pitching coach Steve Connelly, hitting coach and former Stockton Port Tommy Everidge. Athletic trainer Travis Tims, strength and clubhouse manager Vic Zapien will also be returning in 2016, while strength and conditioning coach Sean Duran will return to Stockton, as he was previously with the team in 2013.
Opening day is April 7 vs. the Modesto Nuts. Individual tickets are currently on sale at the Stockton Ports Box Office weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at stocktonports.com, or by calling 209-644-1900.