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Big Brother

Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

Since last post: 16 hours
Last activity: 16 hours
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.44

    World officially goes Nuts tonight

    By BRIAN VanderBEEK
    Last Updated: April 7, 2005, 05:24:34 AM PDT

    The jokes and the snide remarks have been flowing for months, ever since Modesto's minor-league baseball team renamed itself the Nuts.

    Tonight, all the puns are likely to spring to life when the Modesto Nuts, the Class-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, take the field for the first time. First pitch is set for 7:05 at John Thurman Field.

    Ineffective pitchers will be said to have been shelled, batters taking a called third strike will have been roasted and the players in the dugout will be mixed.

    It's all in the name of quality family entertainment that minor-league baseball is supposed to be. Yet the management of the Modesto Nuts knew it was taking a risk by adopting such a double-entendre-laden name.

    "We are seeing a turn toward the positive," General Manager Mike Gorrasi said. "A lot of people who were on the fence about it were taking a wait-and-see approach until they saw the logo and the hats and the marketing."

    But the name switch wasn't the only thing the Nuts front office had to overcome this off-season.

    On Sept. 20, the Modesto A's claimed the city's first California League championship in 20 years. A few days later, the parent Oakland Athletics moved the team to Stockton, where the old A's are now the Ports.

    Tonight, the baseball gods have conspired to bring the Stockton Ports to Modesto for opening night. The Ports' roster includes eight players and a coach who spent time on Modesto's roster last season.

    "We do have a hard-core group who loved to watch Jason Giambi and Bobby Crosby and Miguel Tejada play here, and then enjoyed following their paths to Oakland," Gorrasi said. "Having Oakland so close was a nice benefit for everybody, but it was the main benefit for a select few. That still will be difficult to overcome."

    Losing Oakland was one thing. Accepting the Nuts is quite another, and perhaps the most difficult of the two for a larger portion of fans.

    "I want to see baseball and I hope the name doesn't deter the people from coming," Mayor Jim Ridenour said.

    The mayor said he does not like the name, but he plans to be on hand for opening night ceremonies.

    "I haven't really thought about it lately, but I will be watching to see how people support it," Ridenour said.

    Team gear sales zoom

    Gorrasi said that while a small number of advertisers and sponsors declined to affiliate themselves with the team, citing the nickname, an even larger number stepped forward to more than fill the void.

    There were no mixed signs from offseason sales of Nuts gear.

    According to Gorrasi, the first shipment of more than 200 Nuts T-shirts sold out before Christmas, and anything with the Nuts logo has not had a chance to collect dust on the shelves of the team's store.

    "Typically, we won't sell 200 shirts in an entire off-season," Gorrasi said. "We're also selling about six hats a day right now. That doesn't sound like much, but usually this time of year we'd sell two a week."

    Such sales, when compounded over the course of the season, can make the difference between red and black ink for a minor-league team.

    "We won't know for sure for a while how successful this will be," Gorrasi said. "You need to do well here locally, but you also need to see how many stores buy the hats from (manufacturer and wholesaler) New Era without going through us."

    The Nuts hope to rival the top-selling hat in minor-league baseball, which belongs to the Lake Elsinore Storm and features a pair of fierce eyes.

    "Lake Elsinore has companies in Europe that buy 5,000 hats per year, and they get royalties from every cap sold," Gorrasi said. "That's significant."

    The players, the ones who have to take the field for home games with "Nuts" emblazoned across their chests, don't seem to mind the name.

    The road uniforms have "Modesto" across the front, but the nickname will be no secret not with an almond or a walnut on the front of the cap.

    "To a certain degree it does matter, but Nuts are Nuts and a team name is just a name," pitcher Jim Miller said. "This is different, and it will be interesting to see how it's accepted, how it's perceived and what we hear from the bleachers."

    Fighting Okra in his past

    Playing under the banner of a strange nickname is nothing new to outfielder Jud Thigpen. He's a product of Delta State University of Cleveland, Miss.

    Officially, Delta State athletes are called Statesmen. But to locals, they're lovingly referred to as the Fighting Okra.

    "Nuts is an original name, and that's what the minor leagues are known for," Thigpen said. "It has to be fun for the fans. I haven't seen the mascots yet. In college, ours was a piece of okra with boxing gloves."

    Modesto will have three mascots: Peanut, the elephant, will be back for his ninth season; and two newcomers, Al Almond and Wally Walnut.

    "I'm sure there will be a period of adjustment," said Jim Niskanen, director of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods for the city of Modesto. "But the main thing is whether it's a good and fun place for the family to go, and I think it will be."

    Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at 578-2300 or
Come on baseball fans, CHEER ON YOUR NUTS

When it seems like the whole world is full of idiots,
maybe your standards are a bit high.
- Guru Zim
Promote this thread!

Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

Since last post: 124 days
Last activity: 1 day
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.03
What's the over/under on when the players start referring to themselves as "Deez Nutz"?


Buggrit, buggrit, Millenium Hand & Shrimp!

Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

Since last post: 1404 days
Last activity: 1371 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.41

To quote Wizards coach Eddie Jordan,

"You got to harvest your nuts."

Mark Coale
Odessa Steps Magazine
The Affirmation, Baby Blog
The Thrill

Since: 16.4.02
From: Green Bay, WI

Since last post: 1466 days
Last activity: 100 days
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.25
Thanks for a great season, Pick of the Week fans...see you this fall at Planet Magic in Denmark, WI!

I can see it now...if the players swing and miss at a whole bunch of pitches, they'll be referred to as "those free-swinging Nuts..."

Star wipe, and...we're out.
Thrillin' ain't easy.

ACW-NWA Wisconsin
Home Video Technical Director...&
A2NWO 4 Life!
(Click the big G to hear the Packers Fight Song in RealAudio...or try .MP3, .AU, or .WAV!)

Since: 25.1.02
From: Chicagoland with Hoosiers, or "The Region"

Since last post: 1123 days
Last activity: 886 days
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.34
From Baseball America (via Chris Creamer's

The Evolution of Nuts (The Logo)

exit 670 dot com

Hierarchy of Deities: Bryan Fuller > Sarah Vowell > Roger Ebert > Albert Pujols > Dee Brown

This week on 24: The Return of...MR. RAINES!
oxygen tank optional

Big Brother

Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

Since last post: 16 hours
Last activity: 16 hours
#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.44

(That's right - SWEET NUTS)

When it seems like the whole world is full of idiots,
maybe your standards are a bit high.
- Guru Zim
Mrs. Guru

Since: 11.12.01

Since last post: 923 days
Last activity: 696 days
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.26
Well, of course it has to be an Almond... they don't grow peanuts in Modesto.

...oh bother.

Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

Since last post: 1404 days
Last activity: 1371 days
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.41

I read that baseball america story today. I definitely like the peanut they ended up with; the other one just didn't do it for me.

That issue also the return of Logo Mania, or whatever they call it. You can go to the Baseball America website and vote for best/worst minor league logo.

Mark Coale
Odessa Steps Magazine
The Affirmation, Baby Blog
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