For 1st time since 1998, Fresno Grizzlies advancing to playoffs

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The Fresno Grizzlies closed out the regular season Monday with a matinee game -- an 8-5 loss to Salt Lake. But the action isn't over yet. (KFSN)

The Fresno Grizzlies closed out the regular season Monday with a matinee game -- an 8-5 loss to Salt Lake. But the action isn't over yet. For the first time since 1998, the team is advancing to the playoffs.

Little Leaguers from Kingsburg were among the Grizzlies faithful decked out in jerseys from every team imaginable. The loss of the Giants affiliation didn't hurt attendance too much because Valley baseball fans love what these Astros prospects have to offer.

"There's a few Dodgers in the group. There's some Giants and New York Yankees and Red Sox. Just a baseball family. Everyone loves baseball," said Jennifer Orosco of Dinuba.

Some fans were rocking Nolan Ryan throwback jerseys, including Abel Salazar of Selma. The Grizzlies remain Fresno's team. "I'm a Giant fan. I'm Giant fan, but I like the Astros. I like to support the local baseball club here in Fresno," said Salazar.

The team averaged just over 6,400 fans per game. Ticket sales at Chukchansi Park stayed within a five-year average, according to Grizzlies General Manager Derek Franks. "The city of Fresno you talk about 6,208 days since a AAA playoff game was played in Fresno back at Beiden Field," said Franks.

That would have been 1998 when the Grizzlies shared Beiden with the Bulldogs. Fans are now looking forward to the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Games one and two at home starting Wednesday against El Paso.

"You know what? We're happy to have a Triple A team here. Fresno, this is our place, our town, so we're happy to be here and have the Grizzlies," said Sal Ramirez of Fresno.

Fans also set an attendance record this season when they took the field as the Fresno Tacos on Taco Night. "We had no idea this thing would become a national phenomenon. We sold taco hats in all 50 states, international orders as far as South Africa. We had some orders in Canada," said Franks.

Moving forward, Franks says the team will try to make the big nights even bigger and build off the momentum.
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