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Chico’s favorite pastime to return this summer

Kenta Mcafee

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Nettleton4July001 (1).jpg

Fourth of July in Nettleton Stadium during the Heat's 2001 season. Photo courtesy of Hunter Hampton.

Chico baseball fans have been deprived of summer baseball since the loss of the Chico Heat in 2002, but the pastime is coming back in June of 2016. The Heat was founded in 1997 and stood strong as a monument to Chico’s love of baseball, but was disbanded in 2002 due to the collapse of the entire league.

Timeline of the heat

A timeline of the Chico Heat shows the team's history, from its collapse in 2002 to its expected return game scheduled for June 3, 2016. . Photo credit: Kenta Mcafee

While the Heat is making a comeback, some changes are clear, especially the structure of the league in order to improve stability. Modeled after the Cape Cod League, the Heat will be part of the Great West League, a wood-bat collegiate league with teams in California and Oregon. The league will consist of six core teams, with each team recruiting a maximum of four players per school. The declared teams are from Portland, Lodi, Marysville and Chico.

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The updated Chico Heat logo features a baseball incorporated into the old logo. Photo courtesy of Hunter Hampton.

Along with changes to the league are changes to the logo, which now features a baseball incorporated in the main logo, and a similar logo found on the hat. While the logo has changed for the Heat, remaining is the mascot, Heater, who has been greatly missed by the community.

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Chico Heat's old hat logo stars its mascot, Heater. Photo courtesy of Hunter Hampton.

While fans are buzzing with excitement at the return of their hometown baseball team, Hunter Hampton, general manager, is equally ecstatic.

“This league will thrive,” Hampton said. “These kids are going up, and the point is to get the best players out there and get them scouted.”

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Chico Heat's mascot, Heater, disputes the umpire's call. Photo courtesy of Hunter Hampton.

While the Heat looks to gain support throughout the community, Hampton highly encourages Chico State students to attend future games and take advantage of the guaranteed discounts on ticket prices.

“I’m very excited to have the Heat back,” said Sandra Swanson, Hampton’s assistant and Chico State student. “I grew up loving baseball and going to Heat games— it’s Chico’s pastime.”

The Heat looks to start its season playing in Nettleton Stadium on June 5. With the start of the season rapidly approaching, the Heat looks to fire up crowds and give the Chico community the summer baseball they have been missing.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @Kentamcafee on Twitter.

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Chico’s favorite pastime to return this summer