John Thurman Field
Modesto, California
Year Opened
1997

Current Team
Modesto Nuts

Affiliate
Colorado Rockies

League
California League

Capacity
4,000

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium C+ Atmosphere A Concessions B+

Photos taken in 2010
John Thurman Field is the type of ballpark that all hardcore baseball fans should appreciate, yet which is becoming harder and harder to find these days. It's not flashy and it doesn't have a lot of amenities, but just offers a great setting and atmosphere to watch a game. Located adjacent to a golf course (you can actually see people playing from the concourse) and easily accessible from route 99, John Thurman Field is a rather basic facility with almost no exterior facade to speak of. Parking is available in large lots directly next to the park, but the $5 fee is a bit steep (well not compared to the outrageous $9 which San Jose charges). Fans enter onto a very spacious concourse which runs behind the seating bowl and out of view of the field. It is actually covered behind home plate - the only place in the park where fans can find any shade. The seatings consists of fold down box seats between the dugouts, buckets seats at field level past the dugouts and in the upper sections behind home plate, and bleachers (half with backs) in the upper sections along first base and third base. Sightlines are pretty good here as there are no obstructions and the netting behind home plate is an acceptable size. One recommendation about the seating - the third base side looks into the setting sun and with almost no grandstand structure to block it, it is almost impossible to see from that side until after the sun has gone down. Other seating areas include large covered picnic areas down the left field line and next to the press box. Strangely, unless they are being used, there will be no tables setup there, so these large empty spaces look a bit odd. The atmosphere is really what makes John Thurman Field a great place to see a game. It is very laid back with little to distract the fans from the game on the field. Other than walk up songs, there is almost no other music or sound effects played. Combined with a beautiful sunset and the perfect California weather, it just doesn't get much better than this. I also enjoyed the Nuts commercials that were played between inning - they are creative, quirky, and don't feel forced at all. The team has two mascots, Al the Almond and Wally the Walnut, but they also don't distract from the overall atmosphere. Unique concessions here include tri-tip sandwiches, pulled chicken sandwiches, and frito pies. While a bit pricey, the "meal deals" which include fries and a drink are a decent value at $10. One thing I expected to find was some specialty nuts, but other than the normal ballpark peanuts, none were to be found. Overall the quality seems to be good and portions on the large size (at least justifying the prices). John Thurman Field is just a comfortable and pleasant ballpark and the Nuts do a great job of not going overboard with loud music or promotions which interfere with the game. More teams should take a hint from the Nuts.
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