New owners are taking over the Fresno Grizzlies

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A father-son team from Colorado and a former investment banker are promising to keep the team in Fresno and help downtown grow.

The new owners are taking advantage of a lower rent deal approved by the Fresno City Council last year and investments in the maintenance and upgrades of the city-owned facility. The new main managing general partner of the team, Michael Baker, made this pledge.

"This team is not moving, we are proud to call Fresno home," said Baker.

Michael Baker and his father, along with Jim Coufos are the owners. They are from Colorado, with real estate and investment banking experience.

Mayor Lee Brand says the city's deal lowering the rent and pledging to help pay for maintenance helped make the sale a reality.

"We've reduced the rent. We added the initial capital for the $5 million that was contributed by the old owners, the city, and the new owners. And we set up this long-term plan to make sure the stadium is always in top condition," said Brand

The first change will be a hospitality area. One thousand seats will be removed along the left field line. Another bonus is the $5 beer, which they claim is the cheapest in minor league baseball. Team co-owner Ray Baker says the goal is to help boost the city's growing downtown.

"Is what activity we can create that's even bigger and better as downtowns redevelop, we've seen great explosions around urban areas throughout the country."

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Managing General Partner, Michael Baker, along with partners Ray Baker and Jim Coufos are focused
on improving the fan experience.

The new owners are keeping the team's general manager, Derek Franks, and named him the team president. The Chukchansi tribe pledged to maintain its support of the stadium. They have provided a million dollars per year in naming rights.

The Grizzlies remain the triple a team for the Houston Astros and their first home game is April 10th.

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