Opening Day kicks off Tuesday with Visalia Rawhide at home, Fresno Grizzlies on the road

Central Valley baseball fans, get ready! It's Opening Day for the Visalia Rawhide and Fresno Grizzlies.
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Central Valley baseball fans, get ready! It's Opening Day for the Visalia Rawhide, and the team is kicking off their season at home.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the team will welcome back fans to the ballpark.

Last week, Valley Strong Credit Union obtained the naming rights. Beginning next month, Recreation Ballpark will become Valley Strong Ballpark.



Tuesday's game is against the Lake Elsinore Storm.

The third baseman, A.J. Vukovich, is the only 2020 draft pick on the Opening Day roster, and he says he's looking forward to getting back in the game.

"It's been a while since we've got to play, especially in front of fans to in this being my first season, I think it's a really exciting time just knowing my early baseball's back and a while for this, so I think we're all gonna be ready to go and do that," he said.

RELATED: Play Ball: Visalia Rawhide ready for 2021 season at Valley Strong Ballpark

The team will play its first Valley opponent in a six-game series against the Fresno Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park next week.

There will be a 130 game season. All 29 Rawhide players are new faces to Visalia.

Fans won't have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, but masks will be required.

In Tulare County, baseball games can operate at 33% capacity, so fans will see some seats with zip ties.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are also kicking off their season Tuesday night in San Jose. The team is now the Single-A team for the Colorado Rockies after agreeing to a 10-year partnership.

RELATED: Fresno Grizzlies to welcome some fans back to ballpark on May 11

Their home opener is Tuesday, May 11, and they'll host their new rivals, the Rawhide.

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

Grizzlies President Derek 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.

The Grizzlies can also have a 33% capacity level. Fans will be seated in pods. The seats will be blocked off to maintain space between groups.

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