The Fresno Grizzlies have responded to the report that came over the weekend that the Sacramento River Cats were interest in becoming the Giants Triple-A affiliate team. The Grizzlies’ response? No. No. No. Finger wagging included.
“We have a pretty strong relationship with the Giants,” Franks said Sunday while speaking for Grizzlies primary owner Chris Cummings, who was out of the country and unavailable for comment.
“We’ve been a Giants affiliate since the club came to Fresno. We have such a strong relationship with them, we don’t give it much thought or have much anxiety.
“It’s pretty turn key at this point.” Fresno Grizzlies confident team will keep affiliation with Giants – Bryant-Jon Anteola, The Fresno Bee
If you missed the story over the weekend, here’s the short story. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Oakland Athletics Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats, were looking to become the Giants affiliate after this current season. Both the River Cats and Fresno Grizzlies affiliate contracts are up this year. Minor league teams also frequently change affiliation and move around.
The River Cats are likely looking for a bigger fan base, despite being the most valuable minor league team in baseball. On the flip side, the Grizzlies struggle with attendance, despite the popularity of the Giants. However, they have had a 17-year relationship with the Giants, so loyalty could play a part in whether or not the Giants are willing to listen to any proposal by the River Cats.
The Grizzlies seem pretty confident the Giants will stay in Fresno, however the benefits of being in Sacramento could be too much for the Giants to turn down. While the team, coaches, and managers would remain the same, the ownership group would change. The Giants are popular in Sacramento and the River Cats have proven the ability to get butts in the seats. As mentioned in the Fresno Bee article, the Sacramento airport is larger, the ballpark is nicer, and it’s closer to San Francisco. All things that help travel and appealing to potential players.
That said, the River Cats have had such luxuries because they have won as the A’s affiliate. The Grizzlies haven’t won anything since moving into Chukchansi Park. A new ballpark in a different city won’t necessarily help that, given that the players on the field and the coaches on the bench will likely be the same. Success on the field is not a given for the Giants Triple-A team no matter where they are located.
Again, the Grizzlies seem confident in their relationship with the Giants, however, I can’t imagine the Giants front office not at least considering the possibility at the end of the season.
So far, the Giants organization has not responded to reports or indicated any interest in moving their team. If they’re not interested, it’s really all a moot point.