By VINCE REMBULAT
The Stockton Ports are a Class-A (Advanced) California League team.
But Banner Island Ballpark, as the closest ballpark to their Major League Baseball affiliate Oakland Athletics, has brought in a who’s who from the parent club this past year during stints of their rehab assignments.
Try, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, and Ryan Doolittle, to name a few.
Doolittle was initially a first baseman during his first go-around with the Ports. But an injury and a demotion back to Stockton was when he discovered his niche as an all-star relief pitcher.
The Ports, meanwhile, will continue to develop the young baseball prospects under the guidance of second-year coach Rick Magnante, who led the squad to the playoffs with a 74-66 record. He welcomes several newcomers to his staff including pitching coach Steve Connelly and former Ports Tommy Everidge.
This year’s roster will feature infielder Mikey White and right-handed pitcher Casey Meisner, who was acquired last summer by the A’s in a trade with the New York Mets.
White was an off-season acquisition from the Brett Lawrie trade to the Chicago White Sox.
Banner Island Ballpark is home to the Ports. This 5,200-seat stadium opened in 2005 as part of a revitalization waterfront project. This baseball venue sits along shores of the Deep Water Channel with the concourse that overlooks the field and wraps around the entire park continues to earn high marks from both visitors and the home crowd.
In an effort to make the ballpark experience family-friendly, the Ports are now offering the affordable “Grub Club” for fans age 12 and under during Sunday-Wednesday home games.
Cost is $10 and allows for children to start the day with a hot dog and Fruit Shoot at the Jackson Rancheria Back Porch through the first inning. They can check back there in third inning to receive free popcorn.
In the fifth, youngsters may head to the SJC Foster and Adoption Kids’ Zone and ride the inflatable giant slide. They can also enjoy an ice cream cone in the seventh inning.
“We hope this new program will offer local families a fun and affordable option for their Sunday through Wednesday games in 2016,” said General Manager Bryan Meadows. “We understand the difficulty in great option for kids (12 and under) but believe this should be one of the options for Stockton.”
The Ports will again offer post-game fireworks during most home weekends including this year’s Fourth of July celebration.
TEAM: Stockton Ports
HOME: Banner Island Ballpark, 404 W. Fremont St., Stockton.
HOW TO GET THERE: From I-5, northbound, take the Pershing Avenue exit. Make an immediate right onto Flora Street. Turn right onto Orange Street. Turn left onto Fremont Street (ballpark is on the right at the corner or Fremont Street and Lincoln Street); From Highway 99, exit Highway 4 (Cross-town Freeway) heading west through downtown Stockton, exit El Dorado Street. Go north on El Dorado four blocks, turn left on Fremont Street.
PARKING: $5 at designated lots.
INFORMATION: Log on to www.milb.com for tickets, schedule, stats and game-day features.