Napa May Join Professional Baseball League
Professional minor league baseball could come to Napa Valley as early as 2018, according to team owner Bruce Johnston, who has launched an exploratory effort to gauge fan interest and attract sponsors and community partners over the next five months.
The four-team Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs has given Johnston, a businessman who came to Napa in 2007, a June 30 deadline to gather that support to create a fifth team.
The Association, which includes the Sonoma Stompers, Vallejo Admirals, San Rafael Pacifics and Pittsburg Diamonds, is also seeking to add a sixth team in 2018.
The new team will be called the Napa Silverados.
“We are looking to bring affordable and exciting family entertainment to Napa during the summer months when kids are out of school,” said Johnston, who in 2006 formed Johnston Real Estate Services, a consulting firm for mall and shopping center owners, retailers, institutional investors and legal practices.
He and his wife Jill, who married in 1997, live in West Napa with their border collie, Bugsy
“We feel that the community will rally around professional baseball in Napa, and we intend to be very active in promoting the team’s connection to local community organizations,” said Johnston.
“Plus, we will have a built-in rivalry with the Sonoma Stompers.”
Johnston said he believes the timing is right in Napa for affordable family entertainment during summer months in the form of a professional sports team.
The team will play approximately 80 games in June, July and August, including 40 home games. Johnston is in discussions with Napa Valley College to lease its baseball field for the Silverados’ home games, and if they can reach agreement, NVC will benefit from rental revenue and improvements to the Storm baseball field, including increased seating among other fan amenities.
“The ultimate goal is to create a fun, safe environment and a terrific on-field product that the Napa Valley community can rally around,” said Johnston. “We will be very community-oriented and will work hard to include local community-serving groups, schools and businesses in our game promotions and marketing efforts.”
The Silverados’ Opening Day is tentatively scheduled for June 1, 2018, at Napa Valley College.
Johnston, a native of North Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. He lived and worked in Virginia before moving to Florida to work in magazine advertising sales.
He became a shopping center leasing representative in 1985, leasing properties throughout the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas, and from Fresno to the Canadian border.
Johnston is asking interested local businesses, community groups, nonprofit agencies, service clubs and individuals to call him at (707) 254-8377 to find out how to become a part of this exciting new local venture.
As an independent professional franchise, Johnston said he is open to any and all creative ideas for achieving his sponsorship, advertising and marketing goals.