Good Sports: Fresno Grizzlies General Manager Derek Franks

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Derek Franks, the Valley-born general manager of the Fresno Grizzlies, is looking to restore hometown pride to Fresno's Minor League Baseball team. (KFSN)

Give the new general manager of the Fresno Grizzlies credit: he definitely knows how to make an entrance, like this week's announcement of "Back to the Future" night. It's all part of Derek Franks' plan for the community and for the team.

"I want us to be the premiere minor league destination for fun," said Franks. "We want to be the club that the other clubs call and say 'hey, how did you do that? Where did you come up with that idea?'"

Born in Avenal and raised in Kingsburg, the Fresno State grad completed a meteoric rise through the ranks of the Fresno Grizzlies earlier this month -- going from intern to general manager all in a dozen years.

"Derek's done it all. He's tossed out hot dogs in a hot dog suit here. He's worked a box office. He's worked inside sales, which is a grinding position, and he's succeeded at all of them. So for me, in my position, it's always easy, and the respect factor is almost immediate," said Ryan Young, communications manager of the Grizzlies.

When Franks says he's been there and done that, he's not kidding. He was in a hot dog costume back in 2008 as the "Derek's Franks" character who ran around the infield, throwing hot dogs to fans at Chukchansi Park.

"The first night I tried to throw the hot dog over the net and I missed, so it hit the very toward the top and it fell down in the dirt," said Franks. "And then I realized when people laughed and booed at me it was even more fun for them. So from then on I started tanking it, not every time but I would tank one into the net on purpose because I felt it was even funnier for people, and I got a kick out of it."

And now the pride of the Central Valley is calling on sports fans from Tulare to Turlock to support the team he has spent the majority of his life working for. To Franks, this is home and there is no place he'd rather be.

"There's a lot of great things about the Central Valley and Fresno specifically. I think it's a great place to be and I'm so glad I didn't take one of those other opportunities that would've taken me out of Fresno because it's clear this is where I feel I belong," said Franks.

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