As local fans in Stockton, California already know, baseball fanatics visiting northern California should be sure to mark some time in their itinerary to catch a Stockton Ports minor league baseball game. Minor leagues aficionados will tell you that the atmosphere at the lower levels of professional baseball is palpably different than the majors. The smaller parks and informal atmosphere draw fans into the action and Stockton is no exception.
Baseball has a long history in Stockton dating to the 1860s. The famous poem, "Casey at the Bat", is rumored to have been inspired by the Stockton team that won the California League pennant in 1888. Playing as the Stockton Ports since 1946, the 1947 club was rated as one of the all-time best minor league clubs in history by baseball historians Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright.
The Ports home, Banner Island Ballpark, was built in 2005 beside the San Joaquin River. Fans can dock their boats at the Stockton Downtown Marina and walk to the park or dock overnight for a modest fee. The stadium features 5,200 seats and is located in an area that was once an island called Mudville. As least that's the legend. The San Francisco Examiner reporter Ernest Thayer allegedly wrote his famous poem about Casey inspired by the Mudville team.
Each season the Stockton Ports have a slew of exciting promotions planned. Along with firework shows around three times a month, you can wet your whistle every Thirsty Thursday or score tickets, sodas and hot dogs for $2 every Monday. Along with bobblehead nights, the Ports have even given away "bobble-bellys" in featuring a Dallas Braden doll. Braden is the Stockton native who pitched a perfect game for the Oakland A's in 2010. He sports the Stockton area code 209 tattooed on his stomach in honor of his hometown. His "bobble-belly" likeness will feature him lifting his shirt and wiggling at the waist. You have to get one of those, don't you? Call your travel agent today.
After winning the California League pennant in 2008 the Ports have continued to finish strong in the California League North Division. With manager Webster Garrison helming the club, the team again expects to compete for the title. With a competitive team and countless exciting promotions, another thrilling season is planned for the Stockton Ports. So if you haven't caught the Ports in the past, get tickets soon to enjoy a fun family-friendly baseball game.