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John Thurman Field

Modesto, CA

Home of the Modesto Nuts

3.0

2.9

John Thurman Field (map it)
601 Neece Dr
Modesto, CA 95351


Modesto Nuts website

John Thurman Field website

Year Opened: 1955

Capacity: 4,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Modesto's Nuts

Modesto, CA has been home to California League baseball since 1946 when the Modesto Reds joined the league. Though never affiliated with the Cinncinnati Reds, the Modesto team has had two stints as the Reds (only a reference to their uniforms) even as they've been affiliated with other major league franchises. The Nuts moniker was chosen via fan voting after the 30 year affiliation with the Oakland Athletics came to an end in 2004. Since then the Nuts have been the Class A-Advanced squad for the Colorado Rockies of the National League.

John Thurman Field has been in operation since 1955 and benefits from a 1997 major renovation and ongoing cosmetic touch-ups since 2007 when the city of Modesto put in a new, fancy scoreboard and LCD display (the nicest I've seen for a Class A team). Also new are the two large party decks on either side of the press box.

The Class A-Advanced California League features mostly medium-sized cities a bit farther inland than the MLB franchises on the coast. The most recognizable rival to the Nuts is the Stockton Ports.

The Modesto franchise has won eight California League titles, however none have come under the Nuts moniker.

3.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

Selection and variety has improved in the last few years at John Thurman Field. It's not just hot dogs and beer anymore and concession stands are now staffed properly.

Common items available are sausage with peppers and onions ($7), garlic fries ($6), BBQ wings ($5.50), onion rings ($5), super nachos ($6), foot-long corn dogs ($4.50) and pizza slices ($4). At the Twisted Tea stand you could get the namesake and fried pickle chips for $5 each.

Other beverages include bottled water ($3), 20 oz soft drinks ($4), Sam Adams Angry Orchard ($5.75), domestic drafts ($4.75) and premium drafts ($5.75). Though there are a couple good craft beer options I'd recommend going with something from Dust Bowl Brewing from nearby Turlock. You can't find their beers much farther than the Central Valley and Bay Area in Northern California.

Do keep in mind that you cannot bring in any outside food or drink into the facility. I've never seen this enforced on sunflower seeds. Mine were confiscated upon entry.

Atmosphere    3

On a warm summer evening, John Thurman Field is a great place to catch a game. It has great sightlines, proper amount of extra entertainment and the fans are engaged.

The stadium seating reminds me a lot of San Jose Municipal Stadium in that it has box seating behind the plate and bleacher seating down each foul line. It benefits from having a completely uncovered concourse however, unlike San Jose Muni.

All 4,000 seats can be found in the grandstands with the exception being the group-party picnic area along the third baseline between the visiting dugout and their bullpen. This area is covered and paved and near the restrooms and near the promenade that lines the backside of the grandstands where all the concessions are served.

Similarly, on the opposite side of the diamond is another open space, this side without picnic tables. Instead it's where kids tend to congregate as it is near the playground and the Nuts' bullpen. This area is particularly unique because the relief pitchers sit facing the field a few feet above the same paved area where people can watch the game. Autographs are attainable before and after the game and this is the spot that seems the best as the players are at eye level and accessible.

In a move welcomed by this writer they have done away with the obnoxious hype man, Mike on the Mic. I understand it is a thankless job but it's just not my thing.

The Nuts have two mascots, Al the Almond and Wally the Walnut. They do normal mascot-type things and the latter has been compared not so favorably to a part of human anatomy.

Neighborhood    2

Though there isn't anything in the way of shopping or eating in the immediate neighborhood, John Thurman Field sits in a city park. Just beyond the outfield wall is a grove of trees hugging the diamond and lending a beautiful view as you watch the action.

The closest neighbor to John Thurman Field is the Modesto Municipal Golf Course and creates a nice setting. Also nearby are soccer fields, filled with pickup games and picnic areas with built-in barbecues. The closest major neighborhood is across the Tuolumne River and is all industrial; bottling facilities, meat-packing plants, etc.

Only a mile and a half away from the ballpark is downtown Modesto (separated by a major highway) where drinking and dining and shopping are more readily available, a five minute drive. I'd recommend checking out Surla's for fresh California cuisine and Raw Sushi Bistro for sushi. If you're looking for nightlife, Speakeasy Lounge is your main option in downtown. It is a nice place to grab a few drinks on a weeknight but weekends get crowded and can get dangerous with alcohol-fueled testosterone. Definitely not a great spot for an out-of-towner on a weekend, but weekdays are great.

If you need a quick bite, Modesto Marketplace Shopping Center has some national chain fast food options, about a half mile away on Paradise Rd.

Fans    3

Nuts fans are certainly engaged with the action on the field and clearly have a good time at John Thurman Field. For weekend games, the stadium is near capacity and the fans make for an excellent experience. This is particularly impressive as they no longer are affiliated with a nearby MLB team since their partnership with the A's ended in 2004.

One of the things I like about a Nuts game is that the crowd is decidedly different from any other fanbase in Northern California. I attribute this in part to them not having another sporting option in town. They are at least an hour and a half to Oakland or San Francisco or Sacramento or Fresno. Their closest neighbor with a sports team, Stockton, has other teams and sports to check out in the Thunder and UOP baseball and basketball. California League baseball and Modesto have been longtime partners and it feels like the fans are proud of that.

Access    3

John Thurman Field is easily accessible off of highway 99 by taking the Tuolumne Rd exit and following the signs onto Neece Dr past the golf course and into the parking lot. Street parking is also really easy to find, just watch for signs that may prevent it. I'd actually recommend parking on the street for weekend games as the main parking lot fills up and you would end up paying for parking just as far away in their overflow lot.

Access within the park is easy thanks in large part to the large outdoor concourse behind the grandstand. There are no issues getting into the grandstand, restrooms or concession stands. Lines at the concession stands queue up a little bit but nothing outrageous.

Public transportation is very limited in Modesto however there is a 36 bus stop just a block away. Unfortunately that line stops running around 7:00 pm.

Keep in mind that downtown is not within walking distance and the area isn't the best for exploring at night. I'd recommend driving, particularly after a night game.

Return on Investment    4

Ticket prices run from $6 to $12 for individual games. It is an extra dollar when purchasing day of game. A $6 ticket gets you a bleacher seat farther down the line without a back and for just $1 more you can get a seatback and be closer to the infield. I also recommend checking out the standing areas down either baseline near the bullpens, a good place for foul balls.

With the cheap parking ($5) and beers ($4.75-$5.75) and the reasonably priced food a Modesto Nuts game is a great buy. I really enjoyed my return trip to John Thurman Field and think it's a great value. You could make a whole day out of it by barbecuing at one of the nearby public picnic areas or play a pickup game with friends beforehand.

You can get a $1 ticket voucher for Wednesday games at the local MetroPCS store. Hot dogs, soda, and kids' activity wrist bands are also $1 on Wednesdays.

Extras    3

The Nuts do typical minor league activities between innings that get fans, particularly children, involved. While not my favorite type of entertainment, it is far from egregious.

Though they do not mention much of the Modesto organization before becoming the Nuts, they have done a better job of honoring their Nuts history in recent years. Most prominent is the Troy Tulowitski placard as well as other Rockies. In addition, there are two numbers retired above the right field wall: 1, for former owner Fred Anderson who funded much of the renovations; and 26, for former Oakland Athletic and Modesto native Joe Rudi.

Lastly, the uniqueness of the home bullpen location truly should be considered an "extra."

Final Thoughts

What a difference a few seasons make. I truly enjoyed my most recent trip to John Thurman Field. While the experience is bare bones and would benefit to being closer to downtown, a good time could be had, particularly if you take advantage of the picnic areas just outside the stadium.

For fans of the local MLB teams, it is also convenient to catch their Class A affiliates in Stockton and San Jose, when they come in to John Thurman Field.

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Crowd Reviews

From A's to Nuts

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 2

California League baseball has been played in the valley town of Modesto, CA since 1946 when the Modesto Reds started play in the post-war league. Though never affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, the Modesto team has had two stints as the Reds (only a reference to their uniforms) even as they've been affiliated with other major league franchises. The Nuts moniker was chosen via fan voting after the 30 year affiliation with the Oakland A's came to an end in 2004. Since then the Nuts have been the Class A-Advanced squad for the Colorado Rockies of the National League.

John Thurman Field has been in operation since 1955 and benefits from a 1997 major renovation and ongoing cosmetic touch-ups since 2007 when the city of Modesto put in a new, fancy scoreboard and LCD display (the nicest I've seen for a Class A team). Also new are the two large party decks on either side of the press box. The one that was inhabited was by far the most buzzing part of the stadium.

The seating is done in a traditional grandstand style with the club seats behind the plate and the bleachers stretching out into shallow outfield on either baseline. All 4,000 seats can be found in the grandstands with the exception being the group-party picnic area along the 3rd baseline between the visiting dugout and their bullpen. This area is covered and paved and near the restrooms and near the promenade that lines the backside of the grandstands where all the concessions are served.

Similarly, on the opposite side of the diamond is another open space, this side without picnic tables. Instead it's where kids tend to congregate as it is near the playground and the Nuts' bullpen. This area is particularly unique because the relief pitchers sit facing the field a few feet above the same paved area where people can watch the game from. Autographs are attainable before and after the game and this is the spot that seems the best as the players are at eye level and accessible.

The Tuesday night California League matchup I went to pitted the Nuts against their neighbors 30 miles north, the Stockton Ports.

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