What would change if the Fresno Grizzlies accept a demotion?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Grizzlies are once again changing affiliates, but this time it's not by choice.

Major League Baseball has given the team an ultimatum after no major league team picked the Grizzlies as their Triple-A affiliate.

The Grizzlies must now decide between moving down to Class-A or losing their MLB affiliation.

"It is disheartening that Major League Baseball would reduce Fresno to a Single-A," said Diane Carbray, one of the Fresno Grizzlies founders.

But now the team has more time to make that choice.

Monday afternoon, the City Attorney issued a statement reading in part, "We now have additional time to explore keeping professional baseball in Fresno."

Major League Baseball officials attributed the change to the restructuring and modernizing of the minor league system.

It's a plan that baseball experts say could lead to the elimination of more than 40 teams nationwide, particularly in smaller cities.

Carbray and her husband, John, founded the Fresno Grizzlies. She says the team deserves better.

"Fresno is worthy of Triple-A," she said. "I have always said that for years and years. We have the fan base and we have the beautiful facility that the city invested in."

But what does the Affiliation change mean for fans? Former Minor League player and director Tom Sommers explains the difference.

He says Triple-A players are more seasoned and many are on the cusp of breaking into the major leagues.

"They play maybe four, five, six, seven years in the minor leagues and some of them have already been to the big leagues," he said.

When it comes to Class A or Single-A, players are typically talented rookies beginning their professional baseball careers.

They also tend to stick around a little longer, so fans can get to know them better.

"The players are going to be a lot younger than the Triple-A guys, no question about it," he said. "You are not going to see a major league player coming down to Class A like we did here with the Grizzlies in the Triple-A."

In the city attorney's statement, he says they're optimistic they'll be able to reach an agreement and keep baseball in Fresno.
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