It’s Official! We’re bringing baseball to Napa!

Via the Napa Valley Register, June 30th 2017

Bruce Johnston can finally say it: “Napa is going to have a professional baseball team.”

Johnston, the prospective owner of the Napa Silverados, has informed the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, an independent league based in Northern California, that he has made a commitment and is “moving forward with the team and we will put the team on the field in June of 2018.”

“I’m excited for Napa. I’m excited for the County. I’m excited for the City,” said Johnston. “I’m excited for the people that live here. And I’m excited.”

In a letter dated June 28 to Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs Commissioner Jonathan Stone and San Rafael Pacifics president and general manager Mike Shapiro, Johnston wrote, “I am hereby exercising my right to the grant of a professional baseball franchise in the league beginning with the 2018 season.”

Read the full article here

Silverados Featured in the Sonoma Index-Tribune

As published March 14th, 2017

New baseball team: A new independent, professional minor league baseball team in Napa would add a nice rivalry to the Sonoma Stompers’ season. Negotiations are underway with Napa Valley College to secure Storm Field for the “Napa Silverados” to start in June of 2018. Napa resident Bruce Johnston has a contract with the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs to add the Silverados, pending approvals. The Silverados would join the Sonoma Stompers, Vallejo Admirals, San Rafael Pacifics and Pittsburg Diamonds in the independent league. Each of the teams plays an 80-game schedule, with the season running from June through August. Forty of those games are home games.”


Playing in the Minors


Playing in the minors

This week, our editorial board opines about the possibility of professional baseball coming to Napa (Spoiler alert: We like the idea). If you happen to detect a little extra excitement in our editorial this week, there is a good reason: I wrote the editorial and I happen to love baseball. Especially baseball of the minor-league variety.

I grew up in an area bereft of major league baseball. My baseball-crazy father had his heart broken twice by teams – once in 1960 when his beloved Washington Senators left for Minneapolis to become the Minnesota Twins, then again a decade later when the replacement Senators left for Texas to become the Rangers.

For long decades, my father mourned his beloved team and fumed as the owners of the Baltimore Orioles blocked successive efforts to get a new team in Washington even as the Orioles tried to position themselves as the team Washingtonians should root for (for the most part, Washingtonians didn’t fall for it).

The only remaining outlet for his baseball passion was minor league baseball. It happened that in 1978, a team came to Alexandria, Virginia, my home town. They played what’s known as Single-A baseball, the lowest level of the Major League farm system (the Double-A and Triple-A leagues are progressive steps up toward a coveted spot in the Major Leagues). The Dukes were, at various times, affiliated with the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates and spent a couple of years without any Major League affiliation.


Building a New Team


Building a new team

After traffic and high housing costs, the complaint we hear most often from readers about life in the Napa Valley is some variation of “there’s nothing for families to do.”

Entertainment options are limited for kids in Wine Country, they say; you have to go to Vallejo or Santa Rosa or even down to San Francisco for affordable family entertainment. So common is this complaint that there is an inside joke in the newsroom: we compete to see who can predict how quickly any discussion on social media will feature a commenter calling for a skating rink to be built in Napa.

We’re not sure the era of the skating rink will ever return, but our readers do seem to have a point: the options for affordable, family-friendly entertainment in Napa County are relatively limited compared with larger nearby cities and counties.

And that’s why we are pleased by a recent development on the family-friendly front: Business consultant Bruce Johnston, a 10-year resident of Napa, is trying to bring professional baseball to his adoptive home.

Preposterous, you say?


Bringing Pro Baseball to Napa


Talks under way to have a minor league pro baseball team in Napa

Bruce Johnston would like to bring independent professional minor league baseball to town and is in negotiations with Napa Valley College to try and secure Storm Field for the Napa Silverados to use starting in June of 2018.

Johnston, a Napa resident for the last 10 years, spoke before the Napa Valley College Board of Trustees at their meeting Thursday, but the board did not take a vote.

“The board was generally supportive,” said Doug Ernst, NVC’s public information officer who is with the Office of Institutional Advancement. “They all agreed to allow the continuation of talks. There are certain negotiations that have to continue. It’s not something you can vote on today, because all those negotiations haven’t taken place.

“We have to figure out how Bruce is going to work with the college and the college has to decide if the improvements are enough to do this. It really involves improvements to the field.”

Johnston has a contract with the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, which the Silverados would play in pending approvals. It’s an independent league based in Northern California and consists of the Sonoma Stompers, Vallejo Admirals, San Rafael Pacifics and Pittsburg Diamonds. Each of the teams plays an 80-game schedule, with the season running from June through August. Forty of those games are home games.


Downtown Joe’s becomes founding sponsor

Downtown Joe’s becomes founding sponsor for Napa professional baseball

Downtown Joe’s Brewery and Restaurant has signed on as the first Founding Sponsor for the Napa Silverados Baseball Club.

Owner Joe Peatman Jr. has made a three-year commitment to the team, which is planning to throw out the first ball on June 1, 2018.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Silverados, to help bring professional baseball to Napa,” said Peatman. “Entertainment and fun for our kids, families, and seniors is sorely needed, and being a part of the Silverados is a natural for myself and Downtown Joe’s. Providing fun entertainment that’s affordable and caters to our kids, families and seniors fills a void that our tourism activities ignore.”

Silverados team owner Bruce Johnston agreed.

“Downtown Joe’s, as a historic landmark, is making history of its own  as a founding sponsor of Napa’s first independent professional minor league baseball team,” said  Johnston, a 10-year resident of Napa.

Johnston anticipates reaching an agreement with Napa Valley College that will allow the team to play 40 home games each summer in exchange for improvements to seating and other amenities at Storm Field.

“For 24 years, the brewery and restaurant, located at Second and Main streets in Downtown Napa, next to Veterans Memorial Park on the Napa

River, has been serving locals and tourists terrific food and

beverages, including their iconic house brews,” said Johnston.

“Now, founding sponsors like Downtown Joe’s will receive additional recognition on game-day programs, signage, public address announcements and between-inning appearances. Game-day sponsors will get to choose who will sing the national anthem and which of their favorite charities will receive game-day contributions.”

“The pub is the town’s favorite place to watch sports, so I am sure patrons will want to watch their professional Napa baseball team compete with the Sonoma Stompers, Vallejo Admirals, San Rafael Pacifics and Pittsburg Diamonds,” said Johnston.

“I love the competition and family fun,” said Peatman. “Competing with teams in Sonoma, Solano, Contra Costa and Marin will unify local pride in our Napa community with summertime excitement. I’m jumping in with both feet because summer family fun enables us to be connected, even when school is out.”

Pro Exhibition Game May 27

San Rafael Pacifics to Play at Napa Valley College on May 27th

A limited number of tickets are FREE! Just send an email to  

Napa’s bid to enter the independent minor league Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs took another step forward today when Napa Silverados owner Bruce Johnston announced that the three-time Pacific Association champions, the San Rafael Pacifics, will play a pre-season exhibition game against the barnstorming New Jersey Black Sox at the Napa Valley College baseball field at 11am on May 27, 2017.

“I’m really excited for the Napa community to get this chance to see one of the Pacific Association teams in action,” said Johnston.  “While it’s only a spring training game and by no means will the ballpark be anywhere near as ready as it will be when the Silverados begin play in 2018, but I’m overjoyed to give our community a brief look at the level of quality baseball and fun family entertainment they can expect to see next year.”

There will be no charge for Napa County fans to attend the game.  Since there are a limited number of tickets to the game, fans wanting to attend will need to register at:  All entries must be from Napa County residents, and if they are notified they have been awarded tickets must provide a residential Napa County address.

The first 200 fans registering and attending the game will receive two free tickets to a 2017 Pacifics game in San Rafael as a means to further introduce fans to the joys of independent minor league baseball and the kind of fan experience they can expect to receive when the Silverados begin play next year.

Not only have the Pacifcs won three league championships in their first 5 years, they were also named San Rafael’s “Business of the Year” in 2015 and were recipients of the “Spirit of Marin” award as well.  The team has routinely been recognized in local and national media for its edgy, irreverent promotions including the first team to employ a computerized umpire to call balls and strikes; to have their players wear “League of Their Own”-style dresses for breast cancer awareness; to give one “lucky” fan a free funeral and many more.

“We’re really interested to play at Napa Valley College as a first look at what it will be like for Napa to be in the league next year,” said Megan Castellucci, the Pacifics Assistant General Manager.  “This is a great opportunity for us to show Napa how much fun it is to have a minor-league team in their community.”

The Pacifics and the proposed Napa club are members of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, an independent league located in the Bay Area.  Currently there are franchises in Sonoma, San Rafael, Vallejo and Pittsburg.

The New Jersey Black Sox have been a traveling professional team for the past 15 years.  The goal of the Black Sox Baseball League is to guide and advance professional players into higher levels of independent and affiliated professional baseball.