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Future of Fresno Grizzlies May Soon Change
There are only five games left as the Fresno Grizzlies' season winds down.
The future of the team could be changing in the coming months.
The Triple-A minor league baseball team is dealing with shaky finances, possible buyers, and what may concern fans the most--the potential to lose affiliation with the San Francisco Giants.
But would the Fresno Grizzlies continue to attract fans if the MLB affiliation changes?
In recent months, talk has been swirling that the Grizzlie's long-time affiliation with the Giants could come to an end.
Jason Duke has season tickets to Fresno Grizzlies games but says maybe not for long if what he's been hearing in baseball circles is true.
"If the Giants are going to Sacramento, and the A's are going to Nashville, and then their team comes here, which is the Brewers, the only games we would come to would be when the Giant's affiliate comes," Duke says.
Not all fans feel the same way.
"It probably wouldn't change the fact whether or not I come to games, but I do enjoy it being the Grizzlies [that has the Giants' affiliation] because I am a Giants fan," Matt Renn says.
But at this point, it's all rumors, according to Derek Franks, executive vice president of the Fresno Grizzlies.
Major league and minor league teams are not allowed to discuss player development contracts before they expire.
Franks' hope is that nothing will change.
"We're still focused on being with the Giants, we've got a lot of history with the Giants, we're thinking Giants next year, we're still thinking orange and black," Franks says.
For the past few years, the Grizzlies have been looking for potential investors.
Even if there is a shake-up behind the scenes, there's no risk of the team leaving Fresno, Franks says.
"Based on some things that people may hear, sometimes that turns into we may not be here next season. That couldn't be further from the truth," Franks says.
The company has also been dealing with shaky finances, owing the city of Fresno about $1.4 million in past due rent as of last week, but they're catching up.
"They did deliver a check on Friday for $500,000, and we do anticipate that in October, they have mentioned that they will be bringing in another $500,000," says Renena Smith, Fresno's assistant city manager.
Although big changes may come, Franks says, it doesn't change the fact that the Grizzlies will be playing Triple-A baseball in Fresno next year.
Next week, the team will announce its schedule for the 2015 season.