Ballpark Digest

Wednesday, Jul 30th

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Nettleton Stadium / Chico State Wildcats / Chico Outlaws

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Nettleton Stadium opened in 1997, replacing Roy Bohler Field (named after the team’s original coach from 1947-63) on the same location.

FAST FACTS

Year Opened: 1997
Capacity: 4,200
Dimensions: 330L, 375LC, 405C, 375RC, 330R
Website: www.csuchico.edu/athletics
Phone: 530.898.6333 (Chico State), 530.345.3210 (Outlaws)
Conference: California Collegiate Athletic Association
Playing Surface: Grass
Text/Photos by: John Moist
Directions/Parking: Chico is located in north-central California, about 90 miles north of Sacramento. Nettleton Stadium is located in the northwest corner of the Chico State campus. From CA 99, take the Chico State exit west, go north on the Esplanade, west on West Sacramento, south on Warner, and take the first right into the parking lot. A color campus map can be viewed and printed at csuchico.edu/community/map.

The main seating area consists of three separate grandstands located behind home plate and the first and third-base lines. The seats are green aluminum benches with backs, and there are two rows of new stadium seats in the ground in front of the third base stands. Large, shaded picnic areas lie just beyond the first- and third-base grandstands. Beyond the picnic areas, there is an additional grandstand in the left field corner, and a playground and batting cages are located down the right-field line.

A three-foot high brick wall runs between the dugouts, and very high netting (at least 30 feet high) runs from the Home Plate end of the first base (home) dugout, past the visiting dugout and the length of the third base stands. The spacious press box extends across the back of the home plate grandstand. The modern scoreboard, which includes a message board, is located in left field, and seven light standards surround the field (behind home, down the lines past first and third, and four in the outfield).

There is plenty of advertising around the park, probably owing to the fact that the park is also used for the independent Golden Baseball League. Large signs cover most of the outfield, and signs are hung at the top of the grandstands. There is also a very nice (and well attended) youth-league ballpark directly behind the first-base grandstands, and fans on the top rows were following both games simultaneously.

CONCESSIONS
A single, sizeable concession stand, staffed by students, is located under the third base grandstand, and provides hot dogs, burgers, pizza, nachos, nuts, seeds, popcorn, ice cream, soda and water. A portable trailer behind the first base stands sells an excellent selection of Chico State gear, including hats, shirts, sweatshirts, and souvenirs. Directly behind home plate, at a small table shaded by a grass umbrella, students provide programs and schedules.

CHICO STATE WILDCATS AND PRO BASEBALL HISTORY
Chico State is part of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAC), which includes Cal State LA, San Francisco State, UC San Diego, and Cal State Stanislaus. Chico State has had a baseball program since 1947, and won the NCAA Division 2 baseball championship in 1997 and 1999. Chico was home to the Chico Heat of the Western Baseball League until it folded, and is currently home to the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League.

BEFORE/AFTER THE GAME
Leaving the park, drive S on Warner to 2nd Street, where the campus ends and the city starts. Go east on 2nd, find a parking spot, and walk around town. Chico is a lively, nice-sized college town (population 60,000), with many restaurants, bookstores, shops and coffee houses. Bidwell Mansion is the 26-room victorian home of the city founder. Bidwell Park covers over 2,000 acres, stretching east of the city limits, and includes hiking and bicycle trails.

If you are a fan of microbreweries, a visit to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (1075 E. 20th St.) is worth a trip to Chico all by itself. It’s one of the best restaurants in town, and you can also sample their great beers. Sierra Nevada has several beers on tap, often including some that are not available elsewhere. The brewery also includes the adjacent Sierra Center Stage, hosting live music and other events. Their large parking lot is covered with solar panels, which provide much of the power for the brewery. Guided tours of the brewery are available. From downtown, go S on Broadway or Park Avenue, E on 20th Street for a few blocks, and you’ll see the tanks. For more information, visit sierranevada.com.

If you like fishing or hiking in the mountains, drive southeast on CA 99 from Chico to Oroville, then northeast on CA 70 and follow the Plumas River to the Sierras. It’s a spectacular drive.