Gold Sox battleground gearing up
Last-minute preparations for Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox opening night at All Seasons RV Stadium at Bryant Field in Marysville hit a snag with a delay in construction of new restrooms at the park, one of the baseball team's co-owners said Tuesday.
City officials have been unable to line up a contractor to build the $255,000 restroom facility because of heavy home construction south of Marysville, said team co-owner Bob Bavasi, who arrived in town from his Washington home this week to prepare for opening night.
“It's been crazed,” Bavasi said.
The Marysville City Council on Feb. 17 earmarked state Proposition 40 recreation funds to build new restrooms to replace the portable toilets used for several years at the 2,800-seat park on the corner of 14th and B streets. Proposition 40 funds can be used only for park capital improvements.
David Lamon, city services director, told the council last month he was having trouble finding a company to construct the restroom building, which will include 13 toilets and eight lavatories for women and five toilets, 10 urinals and six lavatories for men.
The city's agreement with the Gold Sox team owners called for permanent restrooms to be built after the 2003 season.
Bavasi said more work will be done on the restroom design. Design work also is being completed on the All Season RV Stadium sign that will grace the ballpark later in the season, he said. Ernie Friesen, who owns All Seasons RV in Yuba City, announced a five-year advertising and marketing deal with the team April 6.
Meanwhile, Bavasi and Gold Sox co-owner Don McCullough are ready for their second year of games featuring collegiate players trying to get noticed by major league scouts.
“We want to make this a center for college baseball,” Bavasi said. Instead of the aluminum bats used by some college teams, the Gold Sox play with wooden bats in the California Coastal Collegiate League, which includes teams from Folsom, Oakland, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Solano and Salinas.
Bavasi said he is keeping costs down on team operations by playing most games in Marysville and only traveling to other league ballparks on usually slow attendance days such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Even though some anger lingers among fans against the previous owners of the former local team, the Mudcats, Bavasi said he and McCullough are succeeding in keeping baseball in Marysville with their business plan.
“How can baseball be played here in a cost-effective manner?” Bavasi said. “We need a local businessmen like Don (and Friesen), the help of the media and a place to play.”
Bavasi said the former team owners made many mistakes that prevented the Mudcats from prospering off the field. He said he doesn't plan to repeat those errors.
On Thursday, the day before the Gold Sox are scheduled to begin their season, the team will open the stadium to the community for its free annual Fan Fest. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. The first pitch of a simulated game will be thrown at 7:15 p.m.
Fans will see a Gold Sox open workout and a simulated three-to-four-inning intra-squad game. The players will visit with fans after the game. The Gold Sox merchandise booth will sell collectible items. The stadium food service, Katz Concessions, will open its stands for a trial run.
The Gold Sox open their season Friday with a four-game series against the Cenco Sultans. The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 7:15 p.m.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Ray Estrada can be reached at 749-4716. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.