A Stroll Down Memory Lane

The sound of the iconic Glenn Fry song, “The Heat Is On,” is blaring from the stadium sound system. The team colors of red, white, and blue uniforms adorn the field, the smell of garlic fries in the air, and there is an electric buzz from the sold-out Chico crowd. Kids racing “Heater,” the mascot, around the bases, the rally train, and the kids dancing on the dugouts, are a few of the many memories from a not so distant past. The Chico Heat dominated summers in Chico from 1997-2002, where almost everyone that lived here had a memorable and emotional experience.
The era of Chico Heat baseball was a proud moment in Chico’s history, a time when baseball was king of the Chico summers. Sold out baseball games and hard to find tickets were the norm. The fireworks show on 4th of July brought families together to celebrate American pride in Chico. Ladies, to this day, still talk about the fresh cut flowers that were routinely present in the women’s restrooms. Season ticket holders grew accustomed to seeing Steve Nettleton shaking hands with folks after the game, thanking them for supporting the local team. All these memories bring back amazing feelings of growing up in Chico.
Here in Chico, we have a first-class university, we have virtually zero traffic, and we are centrally located; only 3 hours, in any direction, to an international airport, the finest wineries, city culture, gambling, and  first class entertainment. What makes Chico truly amazing is the people who live here; our community. And now, America’s pastime is once again alive and well in Chico, CA.
2016 marked the return of baseball to Chico, the return of the Chico Heat. “Build it and they will come” made famous in the movie Field of Dreams is exactly what happened. The 2016 version of the Heat picked up where the 2002 team left off. The Heat led the Great West League (GWL) in attendance, averaging over 1,656 fans a game. Chico set the single game GWL attendance record with 4,415 fans in attendance for the 4th of July game. According to Ballpark Digest, a notable baseball publication, Chico ranked 15th (out of over 200 teams) in the country for total attendance for Summer Collegiate baseball. Head coach and local hero, Fred Ludwig, won Coach of the Year honors and Chico State’s, Stuart Bradley, took home the GWL Pitcher of the Year award. To top it all off, the 2016 Chico Heat won the inaugural Great West League Championship.
Affordable, family, fun. A place to see and be seen. A team to rally around. A place to go on a Friday or Saturday night in the summertime. That is what the Heat is about. They help make Chico an even better place to live; A better place to raise a family. Nettleton Stadium is simply another jewel in the crown that we call Chico. A safe, affordable, social environment to build and create emotional ties and bonds around summertime experiences that are formed to last a lifetime.
Cities shape the lives and outlooks of the people that live in them. Chico has formed a distinct identity, distinguishing itself from other cities. Chico is home to the beautiful Bidwell Park which is the third largest municipal park in the nation. We are home to the famous Sierra Nevada Brewery that produces arguably the best craft beer in the world. And now, Chico has its very own baseball team, yet again!
Years from now, reminiscing on the past, your kids will not remember who won or lost the games. They will remember times spent with Mom and Dad and enjoying family time together. What they will remember is how they felt that summer at the ballpark.

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