I knew something was up when the Fresno Grizzlies sent me an e-mail inviting me to go on a “press event adventure.” Come for a “daring announcement” of the “boldest promotion in the history of professional sports,” they said. My mind started spinning immediately, of course. My mind landed on a tightrope walker over the stadium. Because, I don’t know, the idea of doing a tightrope stunt on a random Tuesday morning for a bunch of media types seemed TOTALLY plausible, practical and baseball-related in my mind.
I actually ran into new General Manager Derek Franks yesterday and told him my theory. Yeah, he definitely told me I was incorrect…But what the Grizzlies really announced Tuesday was much more daring than a tightrope walk in many ways.
I got a clue when I saw a table of Back to the Future props. And then Grizzlies Communications Manager Ryan Young showed up dressed as Marty McFly. So even though I was still hoping Derek Franks would make his grand entrance on a zipline or something, he did, in fact, come in a DeLorean. Not that that wasn’t TOTALLY awesome.
But what Derek announced next was the ridiculously awesome thing. He had just rolled in from the future. From 2017, to be precise, where he saw the Houston Astros win the World Series. And guess what? He brought back a bunch of 2017 World Series rings with him.
Yup. The Fresno Grizzlies announced that they were giving away 2017 Houston Astros World Series rings.
Now that really IS a bold promotion…
You’ll remember where this all started: Sports Illustrated predicted on its cover that the players currently in the Astros farm system will be the 2017 World Series Champions. So it’s expected to be an exciting year in Fresno as these very same players take the field at Chukchansi Park.
I was sure this announcement would produce all sorts of reactions from the public. What I didn’t expect was what happened several hours later, when the Grizzlies announced that they were canceling the ring giveaway.
“We met internally and have decided to replace the 2017 Houston Astros World Championship Ring with a more Fresno-centric giveaway, which more aligns with our marketing plans for 2015 and beyond,” Derek Franks said in a statement. “We do not want a Fresno Grizzlies giveaway to be perceived as a jinx for our Major League affiliate.”
Never underestimate the power of superstitious baseball fans, I suppose…
As disappointing as that news is, I think the thing to focus on is the Grizzlies’ dedication to bringing a one-of-a-kind experience to Fresno fans. It’s going to be so much FUN to go to games, because no matter who you are, there’s something for everyone. The Fresno Grizzlies are all in on this season and this new team affiliation, and I love it.
The Future Starts In Fresno night on August 15th should still be a blast, ring or no ring. Players will be wearing DeLorean-themed jerseys with the slogan, which will be auctioned off after the game, with proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The DeLorean will also be making its return for fans.
This is just one of a multitude of promotions the Grizzlies have planned for the season, which starts April 9th. They range from delicious (Season of the Throwdown) to wacky (Grumpy Cat Night, Middle Child Appreciation Night, Halfway to Halloween. I could go on…) I will, by the way, be back with ValleyPBS characters this summer, starting with SuperWhy and Woofster on April 12th.
The point is, against a tide of naysayers, disappointed Giants fans and people who quite simply think the Grizzlies have left town, the staff is dedicated to making sure that baseball will remain fun in Fresno. I, for one, believe in this team more than I ever have before. So whether the Astros actually win the real thing in 2017 or not, I’m ready to watch some excellent baseball now!
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