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Playing for the Love of the Brain and Game

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

On Monday, July 26th, the Sandlot Sultans of Yountville and the Tug McGraw Foundation's Senior Team, the Mixed Nutts brought their "A" game to Borman Field. This unique group of seniors, youth and the community demonstrated how an intergenerational game of softball can benefit both mental and physical health. #YaGottaBelieve


As one writer puts it, “Cleve Borman Field is a simple slice of baseball heaven. Baseball like it is supposed to be.” And I’ll just add, that was certainly true at the Mixed Nutts v. the Sandlot Sultans game on Monday night.

 
Kerri Dorman and Jason Hutchings

Sandlot Sultans, Mixed Nutts: See Who Can Have Most Fun on Beloved Borman Field

By Kerri Dorman, Yountville Sun


For one night, I got to be a sports reporter, on the sidelines and in the stands of Yountville’s own Field of Dreams – here’s my play by play, a bit after the fact…


After the flag was raised with assistant from Sultan Lily Aguilera, Nutts Manager and Tug McGraw Foundation Executive Director Jennifer “Ponytail” Brusstar opened the ceremonies with a history of the field and its namesake, and announced that concessions for the night were “on Tug.”

Napa County Poet Laureate and Yountville resident Marianne Lyon led the Sultans in pre-game team building with interactive poetry that included some pretty sweet warm up moves. The Nutts took the field in fine fettle, with uniforms reproduced from the Home’s original 1914 design. Sultans’ Coach Jason Hutchings tweaked his line up, channeling Connie Mack complete with snappy hat, tie and jacket. Muriel Zimmer favored us with a beautiful rendering of our national anthem.

Doubling as emcee, I was entrusted with introducing Mayor John “Straight Over the Plate” Dunbar, who threw out the first pitch. And then, it was time to Play Ball!

Tom "Coach" Parkinson

Salty pitches from the Mixed Nutts. Hot hits from the Sultans. Rule changes announced about every 30 minutes by the Nutts’ “Coach Tom” Parkinson based on how the score was looking at the moment.


Of course, there were what some might call ringers on both teams – Jack “JackMan” Brusstar and John “I Can Also Hit and Field” Dunbar for the Sultans, and Lisa “Da Boss” Peake and Stephanie “The Rookie” Weaver for the Nutts, to name just a few.

But both rosters were stacked with players who came to strut their stuff. For the Sultans: Cullen Benton, Lily Foster, Leland Grabshi, Jaxon Hamilton, Titus Hutchings, Ray Puttun, Finn Scoggins, Joe Tuttle, Josh Tuttle and Ezeriah Villegas. For the Nutts: Dale “Ten Bears” Bell, Bob “Gourd” Bischoff, Jerrilynn “Sawdust” Hennis, Valerie “PoPo” Kakigi, John “Yoda” Lew, Jim “Jar Head” Treadway, Jim “Skytrooper” Varian, “99” Wagner and Ann “Stretch” Yates.

Yountville's Sandlot Sultans | Tug McGraw's Mixed Nutts | Veterans Home Yountville | Borman Field

Importantly, there was never a long line at the Snack Shack, so root beer floats, nachos, candy, and Hint water were in good supply, along with plenty of crowd participation. Speaking of which, fans on hand included the entire Ray family, Kara Scoggins, Mandy and Kevin deBord, Home Members Debby Wiepking, Elizabeth Boyd, Millie Wolby, Barbara Meraz and Dick and Sandy Tiff, and new Member John from Section D.

Mayor and Jackman "Who hit it best?"

Just as Coach Tom predicted, the game ended in a 20-20 tie, and the crowd let out a whoop before signing off the evening with the Nutts’ theme song, “God Bless America,” also led by Muriel Z.


Borman Field is the only structure on the Campus named after a civilian. Ernest Cleveland Borman played on a Yountville team as a teen, and grew up to be an engineer and 47-year employee at the Vets Home. The field dates to the late 1800’s, but “Cleve” began construction of the current ballpark in the early 1900's because of complaints of balls bouncing off the rocky ground and injuring players. He and his teammates played the first rock-free game 1906. The grandstand came along in 1929, also thanks to Cleve, who built it from materials salvaged from demolished barracks. In 1962, the Vets Home erected the present grandstand and named the field in Borman’s honor. (Thanks to Jennifer B and Brian Liou for this great information.)

Originally sponsored and financed by CalVet as Sunday afternoon entertainment for veterans and the public, formal (but still fun) games at Borman Field are now firmly woven into our Town’s and Valley’s fabric. Sure, some things have changed through the years, but the community camaraderie and pure joy of America’s pastime are alive and well.

And, of course, “from … the vines on the fence to the finely kept playing surface, and the hills of the Napa Valley acting as a backdrop,” Borman Field is still “a sight to behold.” Hope to see you there sometime soon!

Coach John Hamilton-Ya Gotta Believe

Source: Yountville Sun, July 29, 2021 Issue

Author: Kerri Dorman

Photo Credits: Jennifer Brusstar, John Lew and the Archives from the Veterans Home of California, Yountville


Come Play with us at Borman Field through September

The Mixed Nutts are going to need all the practice they can get! October 5th they will challenge the United States Marines and Navy in a exhibition game at Moscone Field in San Francisco. To schedule a practice with us,

contact us at info@tugmcgraw.org or by phone 707-947-7124





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