Baseball might be the only sport where newer usually isn’t better. There is something to be said for the quaint, older, neighborhood ball park. After all, is it really baseball season if you don’t hear Vin Scully say “good afternoon from Chavez Ravine” or tune in to see the bleacher bums above the ivy at Wrigely Field? I mean, do you get those same goose bumps if you were watching a game at Tropicana field, the Metrodome, or any other contraption that looks like it could be a giant indoor flea market? Baseball is a game that lives off its history…and its on that note that the Spot paid a visit to Modesto’s John Thurman Field for the Modesto Nut’s season opener vs. the San Jose Giants.
Normally for the Spot’s game day experience, he’d have his pre and post game attractions, but for the Nuts and John Thurman field, there are none, and that’s its beauty. John Thurman is your quintisential minor league neighborhood ballpark. Cross the street and you wouldn’t be at a sports bar or restaurant, but in someone’s front yard. John Thurman field has been a Modesto institution for generations, and you can’t help but look out onto the field and picture the Reggie Jackson’s, Rickey Henderson’s and Catfish Hunter’s out on that very same field, as they made their way to “the show”.
As for the actual in game experience itself, you knew it was going to be a good night when the first foul ball of the season was snagged cleanly by a fan along the first base line. One must compliment the Modesto Nuts on having a nearly flawless opening night. Opening up on a “Thirsty Thursday” certainly helped! (of course since the Spot had to drive and type, he could not partake in enjoying some of his favorite adult beverages). For a large opening day crowd, the lines ran smoothly without most of the usual opening day hang ups (except for the poor guy in front of me who didn’t get his nachos because they ran out of cheese). Speaking of food, the Spot was quite happy with his home run dog…I mean, what’s a trip to the ball park without a hot dog! (As an aside, as much as the Spot would of loved one of the funnel cakes, such funnel cake consumption is reserved only for Stockton Ballpark…it’s a long story!)
Last, but definitely not least, the Nuts were successful in their home opener, beating the San Jose Giants 4-2 on the strength of a couple “seeing eye” singles and a solo home run. This year’s Nuts appear to be built on speed and the ability to manufacture runs, which should make for a good fair share of exciting games at the ol’ ball park this year.
All in all, the Modesto Nuts and John Thurman Field delivered on what a night at a minor league ball game is supposed to deliver, a chance for you, your family, friends, signifigant other, or all of the above, to just sit back, relax and enjoy a night at the ol’ ball game.