Sitting between a brand new civic center and a revitalized downtown marina, Banner Island is a perfect location for a ballpark.
Home of the Stockton Ports, affiliate of the Oakland A’s, the ballpark was built in 2005 and features a grand art deco granite facade. Through the gates of its vintage exterior is a completely modern baseball experience.
From the Stockton city skyline to the ships passing in the channel just beyond right field — the view from inside the park was stunning.
The park seats about 7,000 and has traditional single-level grandstand seating, as well as various picnic areas. There is a BBQ restaurant beyond the center field fence where you can eat and watch the game .
On the concourse level among the food vendor booths are the team batting cages. You can watch the players take batting practice, while you grab a snack before the game. Another feature is that you can walk 360 degrees around the entire park.
There are countless choices for food and drink. Kinders BBQ pit stop and the Corner Cantina are the fan and staff favorites. We enjoyed a huge taco salad as good and authentic as any you can find. For dessert we had a deep fried PB&J — yum!
The kids seemed to love the Volcano Splash drink. It is a fruit punch and dry ice concoction that appears to erupt like a volcano right before your eyes. Trays of homemade style cookies and brownies for sale, being carried up and down the aisles were a nice touch.
The Ports mascot is called Splash. When asked what Splash is, fans and staff alike shrugged their shoulders and said, “Some kind of large red creature from the delta.”
Their emcee is named Hot Rod. With his winning smile and gregarious personality, he kept the fans involved.
Many of the teams we spoke to said that they are trying to get the word out to their communities about the great entertainment value of Minor League Baseball.
In this the Ports have succeeded . They are a big deal in Stockton. Over the years they have been one of the most winning teams in the minor leagues. They sell a lot of tickets and merchandise. If it had more seats any major league team would be proud to play in this ball park. We were impressed!
On to our final stop — Lancaster!
Jamie and Frank Green