May 11, 1998
Ron from Fresno
I have a message for all of you die-hard Giants fan out there dreaming of the Giants future as you drift of to sleep at night, the future is right here in Fresno. I know what you're thinking, "why Fresno?", nothing but rasins there. Fresno is the new home of the Giants triple-A ball club. No not the Fire birds, which I think was a terrible name anyway, the Fresno Grizzlies. Pro baseball and the Giants are back in Fresno after a ten year vacation, the last Giants affiliate in Fresno was the class A Giants, which featured Will Clark, Robby Thompson, John Burkett and a host of other great Giants of the past. After the city of Fresno, which has a hard time making up its mind, voted down a stadium plan the team left for San Jose. But, now baseball is back bigger and better than ever, thanks to the Diamond Group, headed by a great man named John Carbray.
It's a great feeling to know that of a weekend you can head to the ball park and watch future stars with out having to fight San Francisco traffic. Minor leauge baseball takes the game back to it's basics, before all the money and the contracts and allows you to see the players playing their hearts out for a shot at the next level. Guys like Jeff Ball a career minor leaguer who was called up for two days in April only to be sent back down. Russ Ortiz, a can't miss guy in the majors back with Fresno to get some work. Jacob Cruz, a possible burn out in the majors or maybe just not ready yet for the bigs. Calvin Murray, a first round pick and Olympian. Chris Brock, a control pitcher that threw for Atlanta last season. All of these palyers along with many others make up the roster of the Fresno Grizzlies. That's what baseball is all about, the stories and the unpredictability of it all.
With triple-A ball in the valley you don't have to pay big bucks to get a good seat and watch a well played ball game. Most of the teams in the Pacific Coast League are filled with guys that have had at least one cup of coffee in the bigs. Every game is played with the same skill level as a Major League game. But, the Grizzlies might not be here in Fresno for long.
At this point in time the Grizzlies have been forced to play at Beiden field, Fresno State's complex. It's a great college field, one of the best, but as a PCL park it just doesn't cut it. With only 6,500 seat the park is the smallest in the PCL. The Grizzlies need Fresno to build them a new stadium by September 1999 or they're gone. You might think that building a stadium is a no brainer, but those of you who live in the bay area know just how difficult it can be to get a stadium approved. The City Councel here in Fresno is a collection of people more concered with looking good in public, then doing what's right for the city. Dozens of proposals have been voted down within the last four years. The city FINALLY passed a proposal now it's up to the Diamond Group and other funding sources to get the deal going.
The Grizllies need all the support they can get. Thery're a great ball- club with a few future stars, hopefully for the Giants. They need the people in the stand and this town simply doesn't get their butts to the park enough. So any of you living in or near Fresno come on out and root on the ball players that your kids will some day look up to as the stars of baseball. We may even be able to pull off a Fresno Cybergate. For now I'm going to live it up, The Grizzlies are right here in my back yard and I'm going to root my butt off while they win a division and then help the Giants to do the same.
For information on the Grizzlies or the stadium plans visit Fresno Bee