Fresno Grizzlies introduce new MLB affiliate team, the Colorado Rockies

The Fresno Grizzlies introduced their team as the new Low Single-A affiliate for the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Professional baseball is set to return to Fresno following a season lost to the pandemic.

The Grizzlies are now the Single-A farm team for the Colorado Rockies after agreeing to a 10-year partnership.

Safety guidelines are still being worked out, but team President Derek Franks said the club plans to allow cap attendance to about 20 percent of the capacity of Chukchansi Park.

"We'll only be able to seat perhaps 2,000 or so fans initially as the season starts. We're hoping a gradual return to more normalcy capacity. We will open with restrictions," said Franks.

The Grizzlies emerge from a more than a year-long hibernation that saw the entire 2020 season canceled because of the pandemic.

After more than two decades of Triple-A ball -- Major League Baseball's reorganization of the minor leagues forced Fresno to drop down to the Class A California League -- playing teams such as the Visalia Rawhide.

"We look forward to a HWY 99 rivalry and we open with them here at home, so we're going to start it off with them May 11," said Franks.

The drop to Low Class A baseball means more bus rides for players and significantly reduced travel costs for the club.

Franks wouldn't say how or even if the savings would be passed down to fans, but the Grizzlies are hoping to continue their tradition of bringing creative promotional events to home games in 2021.

RELATED: Fresno Grizzlies, Visalia Rawhide release 2021 season schedules

"You'll continue to hear me commit to the best value we can provide here based on the experience we can provide, that won't change at all.'

The team's first game of 2021 is set for May 4 in San Jose.

The home opener will come May 11 as the Grizzlies host their new rivals -- the Visalia Rawhide.
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