Fresno Grizzlies close out 2019 season

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fans got one last shot to watch professional baseball in downtown Fresno Monday afternoon as the Grizzlies said goodbye to the 2019 season.

"It's a bittersweet day because it's a long season and I think in a lot of ways people are ready for a break," said team president and part-owner Derek Franks.

Franks helped spearhead multi-million dollar improvements to the stadium this year. Changes he says helped the team's bottom line even if attendance fell a bit in 2019.

"Our seating capacity is a little bit smaller with the renovations so you're going to see a little bit smaller number but it's a healthier number and one that puts us on a long term healthy growth plan that is a strategist in the way our fans want to consume baseball," he said.

This season wasn't without its challenges, the front office was forced to apologize after a staffer played a Memorial Day video on the jumbotron that appeared to show congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as an "enemy of the state."

Last month a father of two died following a taco eating contest at the stadium.

"I think as an organization we have to grow every time we have something difficult happen," Franks said. "And that's what our job is. Take the lumps, get better and move forward and make people proud to be a part of this franchise."

Team officials say those mid-season missteps resulted in the loss of at least two major sponsors but the future remains bright for the Grizzlies.

"One of the bright spots really is our corporate partners and its an all-time high for corporate partners. And that's one of the brightest spots we have and the community getting behind this team," Franks said.

The Grizzlies will continue as the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals in 2020.
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