Tagged: Modesto Nuts 2016

On the Road: Leaning Healthy in Modesto

To see all posts from my August 3 visit to the Modesto Nuts, click HERE. To see all posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

This man, his name is Derek Nyquist.

img_0129Derek lives in Turlock, California, located approximately 15 miles south of Modesto. He’s an eligible bachelor who regularly attends Nuts games, as well as those hosted by the Stockton Ports and Fresno Grizzlies. Derek said that he’s been a huge baseball fan ever since he was nine years old; he is a big autograph collector, and also plays on Sundays for a team in the amateur Mexican-American League.

Derek earns his living making milk cartons for Evergreen Packaging, who have a plant in Turlock. He said that if you “drink a milk carton, then there’s a good chance I inspected it.”

“I put on the side panels [of the carton],” he continued. “There are games for kids on it, no missing persons. I once did a side panel for the Everett AquaSox.”

Derek’s job on this evening was to serve as my designated eater (the individual recruited to eat the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits). We were in attendance on a Wednesday evening, and on Wednesdays the Nuts offer $1 specials on a variety of concession stand staples. Ed Mack, who oversees the Nuts concessions, quickly assembled a cavalcade of dollar items for Derek to sample.

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The soda in the below picture happened to be a Columbia sarsaparilla. In my youth, I remember watching an episode of Full House where Stephanie is unable to spell “sarsaparilla” correctly and, consequently, I have never made the same mistake. This is one of many ways in which I am superior to Stephanie.

As for this particular sarsaparilla, it’s made by Columbia Soda Works. Derek said that Columbia Soda Works is a “tourist attraction” and that “they film Westerns there.” I had a sarsaparilla as well, and was heard to remark that it was “creamier, sweeter and less fizzy than your average root beer.”

Continuing on this “interesting non-alcoholic beverages served at Modesto Nuts games” tangent, please note that the team sells “Noah’s Spring Water.”

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Noah’s is bottled by the Modesto-based Varni Brothers Corporation. The company website notes that the “Noah’s” name was chosen because it is a “friendly and refreshing symbol with more than 4000 years of recognition.”

Finally, if it’s beer you’re wanting while attending a Modesto Nuts game, please note that the team offers selections from Turlock-based Dust Bowl Brewing. The picnic pavilion at John Thurman Field is sponsored by Dust Bowl Brewing, as a matter of fact.

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But back to the subject at hand, which I believe was Derek and the dollar menu.  Derek took his dollar dog and dressed it up accordingly.

img_0124Then he ate it.

img_0125Derek was ambivalent about the hot dog, calling it a “standard hot dog.”

“It wasn’t cold,” he said. “You get a cold one every once in a while.”

We moved on to a new addition on the Nuts’ concession menu, one that is rather unorthodox by ballpark standards: a Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl. Ed told us it was part of an attempt to “lean healthy” on the ballpark menu and that it had “been well-received and one of our bigger sellers.”

img_0126Have at it, Derek.

“It’s better than I thought it would be,” said Derek. “It’s got a little bit of spice to it. I’ve never had anything like this at a ballgame. Normally I’d go toward junk food.”

Next up was the Pulled Pork Quesadilla, a made-to-order item which also contained a melted, four-blend cheese. It is served with a side of tortilla chips, sour cream and salsa.
img_0128“I haven’t had a lot of quesadillas in my time,” said Derek, who can be seen brandishing this quesadilla in the photo at the top of this post. “It’s good. There’s plenty of meat and they didn’t overdo the cheese.”

And speaking of cheese, these are deep-fried cheese curds. The Nuts sell them at a finger food stand that specializes in garlic fries.

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Curds? No whey!

Derek quickly provided a demonstration on how to eat a deep-fried cheese curd.

img_0131Derek’s an athletic guy, but nonetheless he was unable to pull off the ol’ “throw a cheese curd in the air and catch it in your mouth” stunt. He made a yeoman’s effort, though.

“They’re as advertised, I guess,” said Derek, of the cheese curds. “I can’t say they’re anything out of the ordinary. I’d be more apt to get the rice bowl again.”

Thus concluded Derek’s stint as a designated eater.

img_0133“You filled me up. This is the most ballpark food I’ve ever had,” he said. “I’d definitely rank the Teriyaki Bowl at the top. The quesadilla and hot dog are tied, and then the cheese curds. And I’d never had Columbia Sarsaparilla before either.”

As a token of appreciation for his hard work, Derek received the official “Designated Eater” t-shirt.

Derek was the second person to ever receive the t-shirt, and the first to pair it with a Salem-Keizer Volcanoes hat. The Volcanoes are pleased, which is a good thing. No one wants to deal with a displeased Volcano.

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

On the Road: Going Nuts in Modesto

To see all posts from my August 3 visit to the Modesto Nuts, click HERE. To see all posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

After attending August 2’s game in Stockton, I immediately drove 34 miles to the southeast. And — bam! — just like that, I was in Modesto. Modesto is the home of the Nuts, and the Nuts play at John Thurman Field. This is where I spent the evening of August 3, which began under a blistering, blazing sun.

img_0107John Thurman Field, which opened in 1955, looks a bit underwhelming from the outside. But within, one finds a verdant wonderland.

img_0121The nine-hole Modesto Municipal Golf Course, which opened in 1939, is located adjacent to the ballpark. I took this photo through a chain link fence on the concourse.

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It was “$1 Wednesday,” and these fans showed up early to get the biggest bang for their bucks.

img_0117This concourse kiosk distributed complimentary sunscreen, and was complemented by another kiosk loaded with free hand sanitizer. I would like to see more teams offer such things.

img_0114As game time approached, the sun remained blistering, blazing, practically blinding.

img_0119While there’s nothing funny about getting hit in the head by a foul ball, there is something at least a little funny about this sign.

img_0122But getting hit in the head might be preferable to getting hit in the Nuts — all three of them.

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Wally Walnut and Al Almond have been around since 2005, when the team adopted the “Nuts” moniker. The nut in the middle — Shelley the Pistachio — made her debut this season.

Shelley is such a sweetheart, my favorite mascot that I met this year and maybe even my new favorite in all of Minor League Baseball. Several minutes after the above picture was taken, the mascots and I were milling about on the field in advance of the pregame ceremonies. Shelley signaled to me that she would like to see my notebook and pen, and I obliged her.

img_2278Color me smitten.

img_2280I threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the ballgame. While I don’t have any photographic evidence of the pitch itself, I do have this picture of the immediate aftermath. It’s a near-certainty that the six individuals seen below will never again pose for a photograph together. Savor the moment.

img_2282With the requisite pregame ceremonies out of the way, it was time for the evening’s action to truly begin. The Nuts were hosting the Visalia Rawhide, whom I was slated to visit two days hence.

img_2285During the ballgame, I enjoyed a stint as a t-shirt distributor. These are the tools of the trade.

img_2287It really is harder than it looks!

But I got the hang of it eventually, shooting tightly wrapped tees deep into the evening sky.

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This wasn’t the only method in which I distributed t-shirts. Before the game began, I tweeted that the first fan to come up to me and say “Give me a t-shirt, you beautiful man, you” would get a Ben’s Biz t-shirt. One Christopher Glynn took me up on the offer. Here’s our not-at-all awkward reenactment of this momentous moment.

I also played a very important role in an on-field potato sack race, as the contestants had to slap five with me before turning around and heading to the finish line.

20160803_193115The kid in the black shirt missed my hand completely. The look on my face in the photo below is, basically, “C’mon, you can do better than that!”

20160803_193127Through it all, a game was going on.

img_2301The Nuts enjoyed a walk-off victory, defeating Visalia, 5-4, in 10 innings. This turn of events subsequently inspired my Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day.

Thus concluded my Wednesday evening in Modesto. It was — wait for it — totally Nuts.

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

About Last Night: Modesto Nuts, August 3, 2016

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll write a quick blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, when I return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and perhaps even love. On Wednesday night I visited Modesto, California, the third stop on my sprawling 10-team California-Nevada-Idaho-Washington road trip.

August 3: Modesto Nuts (Class A Advanced affiliate of the Colorado Rockies)

Opponent: Visalia Rawhide, 7:05 p.m.

John Thurman Field, from the outside: 

IMG_0107John Thurman Field, from within: 

IMG_0115Culinary Creation: Chicken and Rice Bowl, a new addition for 2016.

IMG_0126Ballpark Characters: Wally, Shelley and Al, a triumvirate of anthropomorphic nuts.

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At Random: All of my slinging attempts after this one were flawless, of course.

Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day: 

Up Next: 

August 4: San Jose Giants (vs. Modesto, 6:30 p.m.)

August 5: Visalia Rawhide (vs. Inland Empire, 7:00 p.m.)

August 6: Las Vegas 51s (vs. Fresno, 7:05 p.m.)

August 8: Reno Aces (vs. Salt Lake, 7:05 p.m.)

August 10: Boise Hawks (vs. Hillsboro, 7:15 p.m.)

August 11: Tri-City Dust Devils (vs. Spokane, TBD)

August 12: Spokane Indians (vs. Eugene, 6:30 p.m.)

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

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