Founded in 1998
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Pacific Coast League (1998–present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Washington Nationals (from 2019)|
|Minor league titles|
|Class titles (1)||2015|
|League titles (1)||2015|
|Conference titles (2)||
|Division titles (3)||
|Nickname||Fresno Grizzlies (1998–present)|
Black, orange, white|
|Mascot||Parker T. Bear|
|Ballpark||Chukchansi Park (2002–present)|
|Pete Beiden Field (1998–2001)|
|Fresno Sports and Events|
|General Manager||Derek Franks|
The Fresno Grizzlies are a Minor League Baseball team based in Fresno, California. The team, which plays in the Pacific Coast League (PCL), is the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals major league club. The Grizzlies play in Chukchansi Park (capacity 12,500), located in downtown Fresno and built in 2002. All games are broadcast on KYNO, with Doug Greenwald handling the play-by-play.
Professional baseball first came to Fresno in 1898 when it had a team in the original California League. The team dropped out of the league after that year, but returned in 1905. In 1906, the Tacoma Tigers of the Pacific Coast League moved to Fresno, playing as the Fresno Raisin Eaters for one season before moving to Sacramento for the 1907 season. In the intervening years before the arrival of the Grizzlies, Fresno fielded teams in the California State League in 1910 and 1913, and in the current California League from 1941 through 1988, including the Fresno Cardinals (1941–1956), Fresno Sun Sox (1957), Fresno Giants (1958–1987), and Fresno Suns (1988).
When Major League Baseball awarded an expansion team (the Arizona Diamondbacks) to Phoenix, Arizona, that would begin playing in 1998, the Phoenix Firebirds of the Pacific Coast League (the San Francisco Giants' Triple-A affiliate) were forced to move. The Firebirds moved to Tucson, Arizona and changed their name to the Tucson Sidewinders while changing their affiliation to the Diamondbacks. That prompted the Tucson Toros to move to Fresno, giving Fresno its first PCL team since 1906. The Toros were renamed the Grizzlies and became the Giants' new Triple-A affiliate.
During the team's 11-year history in Fresno, it has had a number of different owners. In October 2005, the team was sold again, this time to Fresno Baseball Club LLC, headquartered in Delaware.
Parker, the Grizzlies mascot, was named Best Mascot of 2007 by GameOps, beating out all other major and minor league mascots. The Grizzlies former mascot, Wild Thing, "retired" in 2006 after eight years as the teams mascot. Chukchansi Park is also home to the Drag Kings, the Grizzlies' dancing grounds crew who were given an honorable mention by GameOps as Best Entertainment act. The Grizzlies won the Minor League Baseball Promotion of the Year award in 2008 for their "Mascot Showdown" featuring Parker and the Phillie Phanatic. The team's opening day catcher in 2010, Buster Posey, would be the San Francisco Giants' starting catcher for the World Series six months later (the Giants' starting catcher for most of their World Championship season, Bengie Molina, would start for their opponents, the Texas Rangers), resulting in his National League Rookie of the Year award that year.
The 2012 family film Parental Guidance features Billy Crystal as the radio voice of the Fresno Grizzlies. The Grizzlies gained national attention in summer 2015 for playing a game as The Fresno Tacos, which was done to celebrate the city of Fresno's annual Taco Truck Throwdown and came complete with a specially designed tacos uniform. In 2015, they won the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game by defeating the Columbus Clippers, 7–0, in El Paso, Texas.
Following the 2017 season, Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco will not return to the Houston Astros organization for the 2018 season. DeFrancesco led Fresno to a winning record in each of his three seasons at the helm, his clubs compiling a record of 234-194 (.547) from 2015-2017. The run marked the first time in franchise history (since 1998) the Grizzlies completed three consecutive winning seasons.
On January 19, 2018, Rodney Linares was named the 10th manager in Grizzlies history. The team was sold to Fresno Sports and Events, a group led by Ray and Michael Baker, part owners of the Colorado Rockies and Grand Junction Rockies, and Jim Coufos, a prior investor in the High Desert Mavericks, in a transaction that was made official on February 27, 2018.
The Astros declined to renew their player-development contract with Fresno beyond the 2018 season.
Fresno Grizzlies roster
60-day disabled list
7-day disabled list
- Brandon Belt, MLB first baseman
- Alex Bregman, MLB third baseman/shortstop
- Madison Bumgarner, MLB starting pitcher
- Pat Burrell, MLB outfielder
- Matt Cain, MLB starting pitcher
- Carlos Correa, MLB shortstop
- Tim Lincecum, MLB starting pitcher
- Joe Panik, MLB second baseman
- Buster Posey, MLB catcher
- Sergio Romo, MLB closer
- Brian Wilson, MLB closer
- "Team History". MiLB.com. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- "Minor League Team to Play Game as Fresno Tacos". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
- "Tony DeFrancesco will not return to Houston Astros/Fresno Grizzlies in 2018". Fresno Grizzlies. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- "New Fresno Grizzlies Owners Finalized; Chukchansi Park Lease Extended". Ballpark Digest. February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
- Reichard, Kevin (September 16, 2018). "Fresno Grizzlies: We'll Have a New MLB Affiliate". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- "Fresno Grizzlies and Washington Nationals agree to Player Development Contract for 2019 and 2020 seasons". Minor League Baseball. September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.