Fresno Grizzlies Opening Day Preview

April 8, 2009 8:14:59 PM PDT
Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno is the home of the Fresno Grizzlies. Most of the empty seats are expected to be filled Thursday night when the Grizzlies open their 2009 Triple-A Baseball season.With the recession hitting Central Valley resident hard there's a new ticket plan being offered that may put fans in seats in spite of the current economy. Familiar promotions are back this year too.

At Grizzlies stadium it was the calm before Thursday's opening day "storm". But the recent story haven't altered the great shape this field of minor league dreams. It is ready for the players and the ball park is ready for the baseball fans like C.J. lelievre who was buying six tickets in Section 122, "Just seeing what you got."

Ticket sales weren't what you'd call brisk but around noon a trickle of grizzlies fans were buying tickets. Lelievre told us he wasn't going to miss the first game of the season, "Just to hang out with some friends and go to the game. We thought it was gonna be thirsty Thursdays, but oh well. It's opening night so you gotta come down and support the local team."

That is music to the ears in the grizzlies' front office. They know many fans are strapped for cash these days. Paul Kennedy is the PR rep for Grizzlies, "A lot of people across the country are optimistic that minor league baseball will have a pretty good year this year, because of the value."

Minor league ticket prices are cheaper. Like this years new ticket plan: the fab-5-fun pack - 5 games for 40 bucks. You'll need to hurry to take advantage of that one says Kennedy, "It includes opening day so you have about 24 hours to get that and includes July 4th which is our second biggest game of the year."

Promotional nights like Thirsty Thursday, Monday Madness and All You Can Eat Tuesdays all help sell tickets. This is not just baseball its entertainment says Grizzlies Marketing V.P. Scott Carter, "If you walk out of here and you don't know the end score of the game and it's 'Hey, I had a good time.' Then we did our jobs." Carter says it's as much about wacky antics and mascot shenanigans for families and kids as it is about baseball for hard-core fans.

And this year another new attraction - Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin will be throwing out the first pitch. Carter told us, "Her office says she's practicing, so I think we'll be ok."

We did speak with Mayor Swearengin's staff who explained that as the mother of two young children married to a husband very interested in sports the mayor is well versed in tossing a baseball.

So, hey, Play Ball!

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