Imagine yourself on Sunday afternoon, June 8. After a pleasant drive to the land of Stockton, you find yourself outside the Banner Island Ballpark, home of the Stockton Ports, the Single-A affiliate of your beloved Oakland Athletics. You notice that people in other cars have to fork over dough for parking, but you have your official parking pass for Athletics Nation Day in Stockton. The parking attendant bows and waves you through.
From the parking lot, you stroll to the Will Call window where the box office staffer presents you with a game ticket and the official AN Day/Stockton identity pass which grants you access to untold delights. You flash your ticket/I.D pass at the main entrance. The ticket taker bows and waves you through. Ah, the life of privilege!
Inside, you find yourself in a baseball oasis, a one-level 5,200-seat stadium built on the precise location where Mighty Casey struck out for the Mudville Nine. (You can read more about that here, "Joy in Mudville.") You stroll leisurely along the main concourse to the left-field BBQ Terrace. There it is just ahead, the umbrella-lined mezzanine so close to the Ports bullpen you can actually banter with
Sean Doolittle's little brother, Ryan! Nolan Sanburn! [Author's Note: Thirteen seconds after I referred to Ryan Doolittle, he was promoted to Double-A Midland.]
Your AN Day/Stockton pass grants you the privilege of chowing down on a scrumptious BBQ buffet while conversing with some of your favorite AN Front Page writers: Nico Pemantle, the Man of a Thousand Puns, Jerry "EBHI" Brewer, the Man of a Thousand Hits, Casey "Guessatomo" Hellman, Jeremy Koo, and me, D.L. Nelson, the man D.H. Lawrence wished he could have become. (As of this writing, Alex Hall is grappling furiously with a scheduling conflict in order to attend.)
Before game time, your pass entitles you to go onto the playing field for a demonstration of proper hitting technique by none other than EBHI himself! Then you have the option of returning to the sun-splashed BBQ terrace or strolling to your reserved seats in Section 117 down the 1st base line next to the Ports dugout. (Banner Island Ballpark is ideal for strolling.)
Did I mention the game? As part of your dream experience, you get to watch a ballgame that day! The Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics High Single-A affiliate) play the High Desert Mavericks (Seattle Mariners High Single-A affiliate). The Ports feature some of the A's top prospects including 1st rounder, Billy McKinney, Renato Nunez, Daniel Robertson, and mighty Matt Olson. The Mavericks feature a General Manager named Ryan Cook!
During the 7th inning stretch, you once again congregate with your fellow Athletics Nation devotees on the BBQ Terrace for a group recitation of Ernest Thayer's tragic poem, "Casey at the Bat." Think about that, reading baseball's most famous poem in the very spot where Mighty Casey supposedly whiffed! Does the dream get any better than that?
Actually, it does! After the game, you enter the exclusive Athletics Nation post-game reception with guest-of-honor, Ports Manager Ryan Christenson. (Ryan himself was drafted by the A's and played for the major league club from 1998-2001.) Ryan brings several players to the reception with him. He isn't specific about their identities yet but they are all autograph- and photo-worthy!
So that's it, Athletics Nation Day in Stockton, the Greatest Party Ever. But the best thing is, you don't have to imagine AN Day, it's real and you can be part of it! How? Simple, just RESERVE YOUR SEATS TODAY, pay a few bucks in advance, and you are in! How many bucks? A pittance, $30 for adults, $20 for kids 14 and under. That, my friends, is the entertainment bargain of the year! A similar experience in the Oakland Coliseum would cost you two or three times as much!
RESERVE YOUR SEATS TODAY by sending Jerry "EBHI" Brewer an email at ANMeetup@gmail.com. He will guide you from there. You can pay by check or PayPal. Once you reserve your seats you have one week to pay. ALL RESERVATIONS AND PURCHASES MUST BE MADE IN ADVANCE. There will be no sales at the Ballpark on June 8.
(Incidentally, we will be coordinating carpools to Stockton from the Bay Area. If you need a ride, or can provide a ride for someone, let us know.)
I suggest you reserve your tickets EARLY because there are only 50 spaces available for this event. In fact, the first 25 people who reserve (and pay for) their seats will receive a fabulous PTBNL! (That's a PROMO item to be named later.)
Also understand there can be no refunds or exchanges. Once you buy the ticket you are committed, rain or shine. Jerry and I are just two volunteers, arranging and administering AN Day in Stockton for your entertainment. We are paying for our own tickets and we have no way of refunding yours. So check your calendar carefully. Below is a summary of the event information.
We'll see you at the Greatest Party Ever! (Hey, it ain't braggin' if you can do it!)
Athletics Nation Day in Stockton
Banner Island Ballpark, 404 W. Fremont Street, Stockton, CA 95203
Main Phone: (209) 644 -1900 www.stocktonports.com
Sunday, June 8, 2014 Game time: 2:09pm
Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics High Single-A affiliate) vs. High Desert Mavericks (Seattle Mariners High Single-A affiliate)
Adults: $30 per person
Includes game admission, BBQ lunch (Tri-tip, sides, & soda), parking, and associated events. Beer and wine not included but alcohol is very reasonably priced (around $6).
Kids (14 and under): $20 per person (Instead of Tri-tip, the kids get hot dogs.)
Reservation Deadline: Friday, May 23
Payment Deadline: Friday, May 30
Attendance limited to 50 persons maximum. The first 25 people who reserve (and pay for) seats will receive a fabulous PTBNL! (That's a PROMO item to be named later.)
Schedule of Festivities
Box Office opens. (Tickets and name passes available at the ballpark Will Call window.)
BBQ Lunch on Pit Stop BBQ Terrace, 1st level (right behind the Ports bullpen beyond left field)
Hitting Seminar in Left Field by Jerry "EBHI" Brewer. (The Ports are making a special allowance for Athletics Nation by permitting our group to go on the field for Jerry's demonstration. But we have to make it snappy!)
Game Starts. (AN Day participants have the option of returning to the BBQ Terrace to view the game or strolling to seats in Section 117 down the 1st base side next to the Ports dugout.)
Seventh-inning stretch Group Reading of "Casey at the Bat" on the BBQ Terrace. (Banner Island was where Ernest Thayer witnessed the game that became the basis for his legendary poem.)
Post-Game Reception with Manager Ryan Christenson and several (unidentified, as yet) Ports players in the Premier Staffing Club. Again, this is special accommodation for Athletics Nation. The Club (it's a terrace, really) is normally only available for season ticket holders. Ryan Christenson has already committed to attending and he will bring three players. He cannot specify which players right now because of roster uncertainties. Photos and autographs will be allowed.)
We are done!
Once more: RESERVE YOUR SEATS TODAY by sending Jerry "EBHI" Brewer an email at ANMeetup@gmail.com. He will guide you from there. You can pay by check or PayPal.