David Byrne, a teacher at Manlio Silva Elementary School, passes out apple juice to his students during the Stockton Ports game at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton on May 16, 2023. Students from more than 55 schools enjoyed the game as part of the team's Education Day promotion. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)
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THE STOCKTON PORTS won 9-7 against the San Jose Giants on Tuesday as they were cheered on by thousands of young fans who came out to the minor league baseball game.
Nearly 55 schools from Stockton and around the region brought their students out to the Ports’ home, Banner Island Ballpark, for Education Day, which is organized twice every season. The first Education Day this season was on April 18.
“Education Day is the day that we have set for schools to come out for field trips to learn about some different educational opportunities, about job opportunities, and just have educational content throughout the game,” said Sarah Beasley, business operations manager for the Ports.
The Education Day game began at 11 a.m., unlike its regular evening game times, and the tickets were sold at $14 for infield and $11 for outfield seats. They included a voucher for a hot dog, chips and a drink.
The Stockton ballpark has 4,200 fixed seats, and according to Beasley, it was fully sold out for the event.
David Byrne, a teacher at Manlio Silva Elementary School, attended the game with about 160 fourth graders from his school. Byrne said that his school has been participating in Education Days for over 10 years.
“A lot of the kids don’t play baseball, so it’s kind of foreign to them,” Byrne said. “But they just like the experience of being someplace new, just hanging out with their friends, and they’ve loved it.”
Angel Soto, 14, of Montezuma Elementary School, is one such student who had never been to a baseball game before Education Day. He sat in the front seats in the outfield next to his friend Jose Cervantes, who is a Ports fan, as they waited to collect a ball from the game.
“I’ve really enjoyed the game so far; however, it is a little bit too hot today,” Soto said. “If there is a game with a team I root for, I want to come out to future games.”
The Stockton Ports will play against the San Jose Giants at Banner Island Ballpark through Sunday. The May 20 game will include a fireworks show, while Sunday’s “Bark in the Park” promotion invites fans to bring a pet to the game.
Harika Maddala is a photojournalist based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. They are a Report for America corps member and a CatchLight Local Fellow.