Humboldt Light Opera presents 'Damn Yankees'

In this ultimate baseball musical, the Devil meets his match in a man who risks it all to save the game he love, but whose heart never leaves home base. With "miles and miles of heart", it is a musical for everyone!

Humboldt Light Opera presents Damn Yankees, Fridays-Sundays, April 13-28, at the Forum Theater at College of the Redwoods. In addition to seeing a great musical, you can pick up Crabs pocket schedules and be eligible for a drawing for some Crabs goodies. For more information, visit Humboldt Light Opera's web page at

A Message From the Nutter Family

A huge thank you from our family to the entire Crabs family and community for the out pouring of love and kind words in this time of our sorrow. It has been amazing to see the impact that my dad had on all of us, which has been reflected through the support that we have received in the past few days.

Letters, flowers, emails, texts and phone calls have poured in from all over the country and world signifying the number of lives he has touched. It's truly been overwhelming at times. I invite you ALL to come promote his passion and the Crabs at the ballpark this summer. As he put it, our fans come out in "droves" and it would be a fitting tribute to set yet another attendance record this year.

Please join us at the Arcata Community Center on Sunday, April 1st at 12:30 p.m. (game time) to celebrate his life and accomplishments. If you can't make it then, be sure you keep his vision alive and join us this season for the 68th year of the greatest show on earth... Humboldt Crabs Baseball. Thank you ALL, God Bless you and as dad always told me... "Keep the Faith!"

With Our Love, Matt Nutter and Family

A Jerry Nutter memorial account has been set up at Redwood Capital Bank.  The fund will be used to promote life and experiences primarily to youth through various activities.

Jerry Nutter Passes Away

Matt and Jerry NutterIt is with sad regret that we have to inform our Crabs family that past president and original board member, Jerry Nutter has passed away.

Jerry, a longstanding board member who was instrumental in helping save the Crabs in 1995, will be missed and will remain in all of our hearts as we all loved him dearly. Jerry and his wife Karen & their family could always be found on the third base side to be next to his son, manager Matt Nutter and the team. Jerry's love for the Crabs was infectious. He worked tirelessly to bring the team and fans together, and came to the ballpark every day with a smile on his face and greeted everyone with a pat on the back. The Crabs can never thank you enough Mr. Nutter.

A public memorial will be held on Sunday, April 1 at 12:30 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center.

Read a statement from the Nutter family thanking fans for their support.

Read more about Jerry in this great article by the Times-Standard's Neil Tarpey.

Below is a Q&A fellow boardmember Tracy McCormack conducted with Jerry in 2010:

1) Why did you join the Crabs board of directors or who got you involved with the Crabs?

I "joined" the Crabs Board by helping to organize it back in 1995. My son, Matthew, called and asked if I could meet with former General Manager, Ned Barsuglia (who had just announced that he was retiring and planning to close up the program). After getting an OK from both Ned and Crabs founder, Lou Bonomini, a group of 12 of us met and determined to form a non-profit, organize a Board and keep the program running.

2) Is it more of a passion for baseball or a sense of community that may be the reason the Crabs have been around so long?

My sense is that it's both. We aren't comprised of "spectators" but of fans. Fans who understand and appreciate the nuances of the game. Fans who would rather see a 1-0 Crabs loss against another excellent team than a 15 - 0 ten-run-rule victory over a mediocre team.

3) What's your fondest or funniest moment from Crabs baseball?

Funniest and fondest were the same: Manager Matt being tossed out of the game and then "tossing" a bucket full of baseballs out onto the field as he departed the field.

4) Why do some of the opposing teams and families think the Crabs fans are rude? (Ex: we are super passionate about the Crabs)

By and large it isn't the teams which see our fans as rude, it's their parents and girl friends who aren't used to watching their son/boyfriend play in front of much of a crowd at all.

5) The best part about being involved with the Crabs is?

Watching families come in and listening as a dad )(or mom) explains the game of baseball to his daughter or son for the first time. It truly is a game which is learned by the "oral tradition" and it's always great to listen in to the process.

6) Who is or was your favorite Crabs player of all time?

Relief pitcher Matt Nutter.

7) What is your favorite thing to eat or drink at the ball park?

One of Charlene's wonderful burgers and a diet Pepsi (wild cherry).

8) What is the one thing you'd like people to know or understand about the Crabs board and what we do?

That the Board is here to be the "owner's representatives" and our major role is to assure the continuing future of the program.

9) What's the one thing you take pride in as far as being involved with putting the Crabs season together every year?

We've made great strides in finding increasingly good competition for the Crabs to play. In 2009, the Crabs won 14 one-run-games and lost 7 one-run-games.

10) What's your favorite quote, saying, heckle or chant that has come from watching Crabs baseball?

After an opposing manager or player wants to argue a call by an ump: "Hey number 8 - you want a little cheese with that whine?"

Spring is here!

Spring is here, and everybody knows that the arrival of spring means just one thing: It's time to start getting in shape for baseball season! That includes us here in Crabs land, where we're gearing up for our 68th consecutive campaign.

As has become our tradition, the season kicks off with our annual Season Opening Dinner at the Arcata Community Center on Friday, June 1, the night before Opening Day. Come out and meet the team, enjoy good food, and bid on cool stuff, all while supporting the Crabs — all proceeds go toward the Ballpark Improvement Fund. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under if purchased. This event tends to sell out, so don't wait till the last minute.
The next afternoon is when the real action starts, and this year it starts against the Solano Mudcats in a day-night doubleheader, with games starting at 12:30 and 7 p.m. Some other notables on the schedule include:
  • Wednesday, June 6th is Go Green for Lumberjacks night, in honor of our friends at Humboldt State. Fans are encouraged to dress in green Jacks gear, and the Crabs' opponent will be the HSU Club team.
  • The Crabs open their defense of the Far West League title with a three-game set against the Menlo Park Legends on June 8th-10th.
  • The Marysville Gold Sox make their long-awaited return to Arcata on June 19h and 20th. This central valley powerhouse has given the Crabs all they can handle in the past, and this year should be no different.
Those are just a few highlights from what's sure to be an action-packed season. Check out the full schedule and our Special Events page for more. Season tickets and 10-strips are on sale now at myriad Humboldt County locations. Get yours today!

Making Their Mark

ARCATA (Oct. 6) — The road to the Major Leagues is usually long and winding, and for at least two of them, it included a drive through the redwoods.

Two former Humboldt Crabs, Brett Pill (2003) and Vinnie Pestano (2004), made their mark on Major League Baseball in 2011, for the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians respectively.

After apperaing in five games in 2010, Pestano was a fixture in the Cleveland bullpen this past season, throwing 62 innings in 67 appearances and posting a 2.32 ERA, 84 strikeouts to just 24 walks and a 1.05 WHIP.

Pill, the subject of an in-depth cover story in this week's North Coast Journal, had to wait a long time to reach the big leagues, but wasted no time making his mark when he got there.

Pill was called up on Aug. 31 when the Giants decided to part ways with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada. When he stepped up to the plate for his first MLB at-bat against the Padres on Sept. 6, this happened:

When Pill talked to Eric Gourley for his NCJ story, he was quick to credit the Crabs for helping jump-start his career.

“Playing summer ball in Arcata was just an awesome atmosphere, a great experience,” the soft-spoken Pill said. “It was a good place to really start my career. Arcata was the first place where I got to play every day. I was kind of a walk-on in college, and I needed to play in a starting line-up. That’s where Humboldt really helped me.”

The Crabs congratulate both Pill and Pestano on their accomplishments, and wish them even more success in the future.

Crabs are Best in the Far West

ARCATA (Aug. 7) — The taller the mountain, the greater the accomplishment in scaling it. So the Humboldt Crabs had to feel pretty darn good about themselves after reaching the pinnacle of the Far West League.

Anchored by a deep pitching staff, the Crabs won three straight games over a span of 11 hours on Sunday — and four in 24 hours going back to Saturday night — to overcome an opening round loss and claim the inaugural Far West League Championship at the Arcata Ball Park, writing a dramatic and perfect end to the story of the 67th season of Crabs baseball.

The slow start and fast finish was a microcosm of the last two months, which saw the Crabs start a bit slow, but then surge to a 40-13 overall record and a 21-6 league mark.

"It was very apropos," said Crabs Manager Matt Nutter. "We lose a tough one on Friday night, and the guys had their heads down a little bit, but I told them to get their heads up, this thing isn't over we gotta come out and play a lot of base ball. It was a great job by our guys to stay in there and keep fighting. We knew we had the pitching, we just had to hit."

Fans and players alike may have been a bit groggy as the Crabs took on Fontanetti's Athletics at 10 AM, but Ivory Thomas jolted everyone to life in the third inning by launching a towering three-run freeway ball deep to left-center that gave the Crabs a 4-0 lead.

They would add three more in the inning and never looked back in a 7-2 win that booted the A's from the tournament. Cedar Morgan threw a complete game, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh.

As the Crabs were finishing off the A's, the Neptune Beach Pearl began to gather on the right-field bleachers. The Pearl were undefeated in the tournament, averaging 10 runs a game in their two victories, and needed only to win one of two games to take the title.

But the Crabs had other plans. In the 2 PM game, Thomas hit his second freeway ball of the day in the third to answer one by Mike Senter the previous half-inning, and Matt Lopez reached base all five times he came to the plate, going 4-for-4 with a walk. Kyle Crawford took the mound, throwing eight innings before giving way to John Austin, who picked up the save in a 6-3 win.

That set up a winner-take-all battle at dusk for the championship. After falling behind 1-0 early, the Crabs, tied it with an unearned run in the third, then scored three runs in the fourth, sparked by an Austin Prott home run. Zach Morgan tossed six innings, Joey Van Cleave threw two in relief, and Austin came in again in the ninth to seal a 5-1 win and the improbable and memorable Far West League title.

Handing Out the Hardware

ARCATA (Aug. 7) — After the Humboldt Crabs captured the first-ever Far West League Championship on Sunday, the team gave out its traditional post-season awards, and leading the way was their leadoff man, Ivory Thomas, who was named the Team MVP.

"We've got a lot of good players on the team, some big name guys, so I'm pretty honored to be named MVP," said Thomas, who proved his MVP worth with two home runs on Sunday to push the team toward the title.

The two home runs gave him a team-best five on the summer, and Thomas also finished tied David Del Grande for the team lead with a .340 average, and always seemed to be on base.

Speaking of Del Grande, he was named the team Offensive Player of the Year, thanks to the aforementioned average. Del Grande's 54 hits were by far tops on the team, a good 15 more than the next best mark.

The Defensive Player of the Year was Austin Prott, who was a veritable Hoover at first base, both in balls hit at him by opponents and thrown at him by teammates.

The Most Valuable Pitcher award, to the surprise of no one, went to Aaron West, whose numbers bordered on absurd: 7-0, 0.17 ERA, 83 strikeouts and just 11 walks over 54 innings.

Jason Mahood received the Kevin Morsching/Scott Heinig Memorial Award as the team's most inspirational player. He was a hard-nosed player on the field, and a solid leader off of it.

After presenting the awards, Manager Matt Nutter made a point of thanking John Austin and Zach O'Hanen, two outgoing seniors who pitched for the Crabs for three seasons. Their contributions to the Crabs organization will be missed.

Putting the West in Far West League

ARCATA (Aug. 6) — Faced with the prospect of being bounced early from the inaugural Far West League Tournament, the Humboldt Crabs pulled their ace from their sleeve, and he paid off in spades.

Aaron West improved his perfect record to 7-0 with a complete-game, 12-strikeout gem as the Crabs topped the Atwater Aviators 2-0 in the final game of an action-packed day at the Arcata Ball Park on Saturday.

Thanks in part to a pair of key wild pitches and a passed ball, the Crabs offense did just enough to make sure West's performance didn't go to waste. In the third, Nick Latta singled to lead off, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on an Ivory Thomas single.

Insurance came in the fifth, when Brett Morgan singled, stole second, advanced to third when strike 3 on Thomas skipped to the backstop, then came home on another wild pitch.

The win extends the Crabs' season another day, and sets up a rematch on Sunday at 10 AM with the Fontanetti's A's, who beat the Crabs on Friday but lost to the Neptune Beach Pearl 8-2 on Saturday.

The Crabs-A's winner earns the right to face the Pearl at 2 PM. If the Pearl win that game, they are the champions; if not, they'll reset and do it again in a winnner-take-all battle at 6 PM.

Sunday's complete schedule is: 

10 AM: Humboldt Crabs vs. Fontanetti's A's (loser eliminated)
2 PM: Neptune Beach Pearl vs. Winner of 10 AM game
6 PM: Repeat of 2 PM game, if Pearl lose

Here are the brackets after Friday's games.

Crabs Fall to Fontanetti's in FWL Tourney

 [updated with 11AM game results]

ARCATA (Aug. 6) — In a pitcher's duel, a defensive play made or missed usually determines the outcome, and that was exactly the case Friday night as the Crabs dropped their opening game in the Far West League Tournament 1-0 to the Fontanetti's Athletics.

Fontanetti's right fielder Scott Masik made an outstanding diving catch and turned it into a double play to squash the Crabs' best shot at a rally against starter Mike Manelo in the sixth inning.

Conversely, a less-than accurate throw by Crabs left fielder Casey Watkins allowed the A's Spencer Frazer to stretch a single into a double in the third (an accurate throw would likely have had him), and former Crab Jeff Johnson cashed in the opportunity, scoring Frazer with a solid single to right for the only run of the game.

The Crabs now fall into the loser's bracket, and will try to stave off elimination Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Atwater Aviators, who won the day's first game 3-0 over the Redding Colt .45s. If they can survive that, they'll be faced with the prospect of having to win three straight games on Sunday if they are to capture the FWL Championship.

Fontanetti's plays the second game of the day against the Neptune Beach Pearl, which advanced in the winner's bracket by beating Atwater 12-3 on Friday.

Saturday's complete schedule is: 

11AM: Atwater Aviators 3, Redding Colt .45s 0 (Redding eliminated)
3 PM: Neptune Beach Pearl vs. Fontanetti's A's
7 PM: Humboldt Crabs vs. Atwater Aviators (loser eliminated)

Here are the brackets after Friday's games.

Tourney Time!

After two months of hard work, the Crabs will reap their rewards this weekend as the top seed of the 2011 Far West League Championship tournament, which starts Friday at the Arcata Ball Park.

The full field, in order of seeding, is the Crabs (1), Atwater Aviators (2), Neptune Beach Pearl (3), Fontanetti's Athletics (4) and Redding Colt .45s (5). The tournament was supposed to take the top six teams in the FWL, but the Southern Oregon RiverDawgs, who qualified in sixth spot, have declined their invitation. So Friday begins a madhouse double-elimination tournament, with three games on the docket:

11AM: (4) Fontanetti's Athletics vs. (5) Redding Colt .45s 
3 PM: (2) Atwater Aviators vs. (3) Neptune Beach Pearl 
7 PM: (1) Humboldt Crabs vs. Winner of 11 AM game

The higher-seeded team is the home team for all games. The Crabs will also play the 7 PM game on Saturday, against an opponent yet to be determined. The first possible championship game will be at 2 PM on Sunday. While the Crabs hope to be in that game, there are no guarantees of the Crabs playing after Saturday night, so catch 'em while you can!

A full printable tournament bracket — with Friday's schedule listed on the side — is available here. Tournament passes are $18 and are being sold at the Eureka and Arcata chambers of commerce, as well as Solo Sports in Arcata.

UPDATE: Here are the brackets after Friday's games. Saturday's games are:

11AM: Redding Colt .45s vs. Atwater Aviators (loser eliminated)
3 PM: Neptune Beach Pearl vs. Fontanetti's A's
7 PM: Humboldt Crabs vs. Winner of 11 AM game (loser eliminated)

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