Baseball: The Heat is on
Chico’s boys of summer have run on family fun
Summertime and the livin’ is easy … in Chico anyway. While the summer weather will bring temperatures that easily reach beyond anything comfortable, the area offers a number of ways to spend whole summer vacations or just spend an evening after work. For locals and baseball fans in general, a game of the Chico Heat professional baseball club may be just what you need on one of those hot summer days.
Started in 1996 and playing its first season in 1997, the Heat is part of the independent Western Baseball League. The baseball club proved successful for its founders Steve Nettleton and businessmen Bob Linscheid and Jeff Kragel.
In just a few short years, the team has accomplished amazing feats: competing in championships and winning league records in the first couple of seasons, not to mention the $2 million donation that saw the upgrade of Chico State’s ball field, which was affectionately named Nettleton Stadium in honor of Steve and Kathy Nettleton.
This summer proves to be no less of a fun challenge for Heat players and fans alike, with the team playing against the likes of Long Beach, Sonoma, Solano, Yuma, Ariz. and Yuba-Sutter professional clubs. A 2002 team roster isn’t available yet but will be announced sometime in May, before spring training begins.
Even those new to the Chico baseball scene won’t have a hard time fitting in at one of the games: The actual innings are only a fraction of the entertainment each game provides. The mascot, a dragon named Heater who has achieved local commercial and advertisement fame, helps along with crazy contests and provides an atmosphere that any family, baseball fans or not, can enjoy. The dizzy bat contest, seventh-inning stretch and the “rally train” have become part of Heat fans’ vocabulary. There’s even the “Heater World” playground where kids can let off some steam.
Tickets can be purchased for individual games or for the season in advance at the Chico Heat box office at 250 Vallombrosa Ave. or during game day at the stadium. Discounts are also available for group outings and even barbeques, with a wide variety of packages available. The Heat’s website, www.chicoheat.com, offers options in buying tickets and merchandise, learning about the players and managements, and getting up-to-date information on Chico’s favorite baseball league.
So head over to the Nett (Nettleton Stadium) during those hot summer evenings when you can’t imagine sitting in front of your air conditioner another minute. The boys of the Heat promise you a fun-filled evening of good laughs and good baseball.
The first home game is May 31, so dust off your glove for those foul balls.
Chico Heat home games
May 31-June 2 v. Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox
June 7-9 v. Long Beach Breakers
June 14-16 v. Yuma Bullfrogs
June 17-19 v. Solano Steelheads
June 24-26 v. Sonoma County Crushers
July 4-6 v. Sonoma County Crushers
July 7-9 v. Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox
July 16-18 v. Long Beach Breakers
July 19-21 v. Yuma Bullfrogs
July 23-25 v. Solano Steelheads
Aug. 2-4 v. Sonoma County Crushers
Aug. 5-7 v. Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox
Aug. 9-11 v. Solano Steelheads
Aug. 19-21 v. Yuma Bullfrogs
Aug. 29-31 v. Long Beach Breakers