March 2013

Carpe Vernum

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Nick Noonan collected three hits and two RBI in the Giants’ final Spring Training game in Arizona this year, only improving his chances to make San Francisco’s Opening Day roster.

The left-handed hitter got off to a slow start this spring, tallying only one hit in his first 19 at-bats. Since March 9th, however, Noonan has turned it up by hitting .341 (15-for-44) with eight extra-base hits.

With veteran infielder Tony Abreu sidelined with a knee injury for all but one Spring Training game, Noonan has stepped up his candidacy for a backup infielder role with the Giants.

Noonan entered last season with a .259 career average. He played in 13 games for the Grizzlies in 2011, but the 2012 campaign was Noonan’s first full experience at Triple-A. The San Diego native impressed, batting .296 over 129 games for Fresno. He paced the Grizzlies in hits and games played while also placing fourth on the squad with 62 RBI.

As former Grizzlies manager Steve Decker told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Noonan had to go back to what he knew to find success in 2012:

“I’ve known Nick from day one, so I asked him, `When we drafted you and you were considered a top prospect, what were you good at?’” said Decker, now the Giants’ organizational hitting coordinator.

 

Noonan replied that he was a pretty good fastball hitter, especially to his pull side gap. So Decker gave him a challenge: “If you get a fastball middle, be ready to hit it to your pull side gap.”

 

“He has not been late on the fastball since,” Decker said. “He finally figured out … you never come to a fight without your best weapon.”

Noonan and Giants fans alike will find out in the coming days if he cracks his first big league roster.

12 Days Till Opening Day

12 Days Till Opening Day

Twelve. Twelve days. That’s it. The Grizzlies’ 2013 season kicks off in 12 days on April 4th for Opening Day.

Tim Lincecum, who wore jersey number 12 in his brief Grizzlies career in 2007, helps us count down to the big day.

Lincecum’s Grizzlies career looks like this:

4-0 record (5 starts)
1 ER in 31 IP (0.29 ERA)
46 strikeouts and 11 walks
.119 batting average against

For Fresno, four of Lincecum’s five Grizzlies starts were at Chukchansi Park, so the opportunity for everyone in the Central San Joaquin Valley to see the two-time Cy Young winner before startdom was there.

In fact, Lincecum’s last start with Fresno (at Chukchansi Park nonetheless) was a record-setting performance. The right-hander struck out 14 in six innings, setting the Grizzlies franchise record for most strikeouts in a single game. What’s more impressive about Lincecum’s final start in Triple-A is that he didn’t walk any of the 21 batters he faced. Everybody knew on that April 29th day back in 2007 Lincecum was destined for bigger things in his career.

Lincecum is also one of the 17 of the 25 Giants on the 2012 World Series roster that have played for the Grizzlies in their careers.

Of course, as everybody has heard, Lincecum ditched the long hair for a more clean cut look. As seen in the photo above, he fared well with the shorter locks. Based on the logic of haircuts (which is probably more along the lines of illogic of haircuts), the 2013 season could be a bounce back year for Lincecum.

14 Days Till Opening Day

14 Days Till Opening Day

Two weeks away! There are 14 days until Opening Day, and Francisco Peguero helps bring us closer to the 7:05 pm against the Tacoma Rainiers at Chukchansi Park.

The outfielder made his Grizzlies debut in 2012, playing in 105 games for Fresno and batting .272/.297/.394 with 20 doubles, 10 triples, 5 home runs, and 68 RBI.

His 10 triples tied Nate Schierholtz for the second-most by a Grizzlies hitter for a single season in franchise history.

Peguero was pegged (yes, that was intentional) for another season in Triple-A to start Spring Training this year after the San Francisco Giants re-signed Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence and brought back Andres Torres after his one-year absence from the Giants organization.

Peguero, however, did not get the memo regarding the Giants’ outfield situation being all but decided. In 18 Spring Training games, Peguero is hitting .364 with 3 doubles, a triple, and 5 RBI. His .364 batting average only trails Brandon Belt for the highest clip on the Giants (min. 40 AB).

Peguero is competing with Cole Gillespie for the Giants’ fifth outfield spot. The Giants would probably not prefer to have Peguero sitting on their bench and possibly stunting his development, but sometimes roster decision-makers can’t argue with results.

15 Days Till Opening Day

15 Days Till Opening Day

Fifteen days until #FGOpeningDay, and to help us count down, we look back at former Fresno Grizzlies outfielder Jason Ellison.

The Lewis-Clark State College product was drafted by the Giants in the 22nd round of the 2000 June Draft. The outfielder was entering the pro ranks after helping lead Lewis-Clark State College to back-to-back NAIA World Series championships.

Ellison is one of four different former Lewis-State College baseball players to play for the Giants in their pro careers, joining Frank Williams, Marvin Bernard, and former Grizzlies manager Steve Decker.

Ellison played in 347 games with the Grizzlies from 2002-2006. He batted .318 (443-for-1,392) in a Grizzlies uniform over his career, hitting 82 doubles, 14 triples, and 19 home runs to go along with his 108 RBI.

On the Grizzlies’ all-time career records list, Ellison is 2nd in stolen bases (71), 5th in doubles and hits, 6th in triples, and 7th in games played.

Ellison’s career with the Giants organization ended in 2007 when he was shipped from San Francisco to the Seattle Mariners organization in exchange for left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley. Ellison went to South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, WA and lived near Seattle in the offseason at the time, so the move was welcomed by Ellison.

Ellison’s last season in pro baseball was in 2009 with the Philadelphia Phillies organization. He played in 125 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in ’09, batting .261/.332/.339 with 20 doubles, 5 home runs, 37 RBI, and 15 stolen bases. He went unsigned entering the 2010 season, thus ending his pro career.

In addition to playing for the Giants in the big leagues, the native of Quincy, CA also played for the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and Texas Rangers.

Innovation, Experimentation At Chukchansi Park

ImageMark your calendars now for Sunday, April 21st. Why? Because for the first time ever, the maker movement will take over a professional baseball game with the Fresno Ideaworks Mini Maker Faire.

What is the maker movement?

From Maker Faire,

Many makers are hobbyists, enthusiasts or students (amateurs!)–but they are also a wellspring of innovation, creating new products and producing value in the community. Some makers do become entrepreneurs and start companies.

Needing a place to exhibit ideas and share projects, the idea of Maker Faire took shape. Maker Faire is “the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth — a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.”

MAKE Magazine launched in 2005 to help nurture the ground for the growing maker community.

The Fresno Ideaworks Mini Maker Faire will be the first Maker Faire held in Fresno in addition to the first at a professional baseball game. It will showcase makers from the Central San Joaquin Valley and beyond with their Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects on display. A Grizzlies game will become a complete learning experience.

The Fresno Ideaworks Mini Maker Faire begins at 12 pm and runs through the end of the Grizzlies game.

The event is for all ages. We are currently seeking makers for event, so if you are interested in sharing your DIY project, please email us here.

As for entry, a Grizzlies game ticket gets you admission into the Fresno Ideaworks Mini Maker Faire. Tickets are available here.

19 Days Till Opening Day

19 Days Till Opening Day

Closer and closer…#FGOpeningDay is now 19 days away! Nate Schierholtz, who wore jersey number 19 with the Grizzlies, helps bring the 2013 opener closer to reality.

The Reno, Nevada native donned a Grizzlies uniform between 2007 and 2009, with his ’09 appearance being an MLB Rehab stint. In his first year at Triple-A, Schierholtz batted .333 with 31 doubles, 7 triples, 16 home runs, 68 RBI, and 10 stolen bases in 109 games. The right fielder eventually made his Major League debut in the same season as his Triple-A debut, playing in 39 games with the Giants in 2007.

In 2008, Schierholtz proved his worth at the Triple-A level again, batting .320 with 22 doubles, 10 triples, 18 home runs, 73 RBI, and 9 steals in 93 games.

On the Grizzlies’ all-time career records list, Schierholtz is tied with Fred Lewis for the second-most triples with 17.

Schierholtz also holds the claim to be the first Grizzlies player to hit for the cycle. He turned the trick on May 26th, 2008 at Las Vegas.

Schierholtz is a Bay Area native as he grew up Danville, California, which is about 35 minutes from AT&T Park in San Francisco. After one year at Chabot College, Schierholtz was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2003 Draft.

Schierholtz was a third baseman coming out junior college. He played 134 of his first 166 professional games at third base before beginning his switch to the outfield in 2004.

“Nate the Great” signed with the Chicago Cubs this past offseason. Through 13 Spring Training games, the left-handed hitter was batting .344/.389/.563 with 2 doubles, a triple, a home run, and 6 RBI.

Did the Grizzlies’ roster just take shape?

ImageSeveral moves were made today at the San Francisco Giants big league spring training: 21 players were reassigned to minor league spring training.

Several players were optioned to Fresno’s preliminary roster: Ehire Adrianza, Nick Noonan, Juan Perez, Roger Kieschnick, Jake Dunning, Chris Heston, Dan Otero, and Sandy Rosario. Each of these players is on the Giants 40-man roster.

Meanwhile, Boof Bonser, Steve Edlefsen, Heath Hembree, Michael Kickham, Tyler LaTorre, Mitch Lively, Shane Loux, Ricky Oropesa, Adam Duvall, Brock Bond, and Gary Brown were each “reassigned.”

Looking at the list of cuts today, most stand out as potential Grizzlies on Opening Day (April 4th). Adrianza and Noonan appear to be future Grizzlies up the middle of the infield. While Noonan has experience at second base, third base, and shortstop, Adrianza has played in 582 career games at shortstop and 1 at second base. Bond has played both second and third base in his career. The switch-hitting, on-base machine could fill wherever Noonan is not playing (or vice versa).

Perez and Kieschnick are going to be a part of a potentially loaded Grizzlies outfield to start the season. Perez has spent the last two seasons at Double-A Richmond, including a 2012 season in which he batted .302 with 11 home runs and 18 stolen bases (33 attempts). Kieschnick, despite missing three months with a shoulder injury, led the Grizzlies with 15 home runs in 2012.

Other possibilities in the Grizzlies outfield include Brown, the Giants’ 2nd-best prospect according to MLB.com, and Francisco Peguero. Peguero has stood out this spring, batting .424 in 13 games with the big club. He is competing with Cole Gillespie, Andres Torres, among others, for a spot in the Giants outfield.

LaTorre was assigned to minor league camp after returning from his time with Team Italy at the World Baseball Classic. LaTorre appeared in 2 games with Italy, going 1-for-4 with a walk.

Bonser, Heston, and Kickham are the frontrunners for the Grizzlies starting pitching staff. Bonser used the 2012 season to recover from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander started out of the bullpen with Fresno last July, but slowly worked his way back to a starting role. In 307 career games, Bonser has started 245 of them. Heston and Kickham are the rising prospects, who recently gained the attention of the Giants brass. Heston was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year last year while Kickham is a hard-throwing left-hander. Those can be hard to find.

Dunning, Edlefsen, Hembree, Lively, Loux, Otero, and Rosario are candidates for the Grizzlies’ relief corps. Loux has plenty of starting experience in his career, but he pitched solely out of the bullpen in 2012. Rosario is the latest addition to the Giants organization. The right-hander posted a 1.04 ERA in 25 appearances with the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2012 while leading the team with 16 saves. The Grizzlies’ co-leader in saves from yesteryear, Hembree, will be looking to improve himself in the early part of this season to make sure he can crack the Giants’ roster soon.

First Look – Crawford Bobblehead

First Look - Crawford Bobblehead

Yes, yesterday was the “21 Days Till Opening Day” mark.

Yes, we missed it, but that was because we were too busy announcing our exciting promo schedule for the 2013 season.

So, as an apology, we are offering the first look of the Brandon Crawford Farm Grown bobblehead (wearing his Grizzlies jersey number 21).

The Anagrammatists

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The Grizzlies’ promo schedule will be announced…tomorrow (March 14). We have given sneak peeks via Twitter here and here.

But we are going to announce part of the schedule here first. Below are six anagrams. Unscramble the words, and you can learn what the Grizzlies will be giving away in 2013.

blubberhead obeys poets

A hot, acid babblement

Noble cow hand of drabber drab

Bachelor balk blew lid

Elder Sign Row Sir

Franc Swarm Frog

Follow us on Twitter (@FresnoGrizzlies) as we will be rolling out parts of the promo schedule over the entire day on March 14. First promo tweet will be sent out around 9 am PT.

Pinterest Contest for Free Opening Weekend Tickets

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Calling all Pinterest lovers! The Fresno Grizzlies Opening Weekend is right around the corner and it’s time to get your tickets Pinterest style.

Pinterest is the place to pin everything that you love and find interesting. What’s more interesting than FREE tickets to see your Fresno Grizzlies? Join our Pinterest contest to be eligible for FREE tickets to any game during Opening Weekend!

The winner will get to enjoy a night at Chukchansi Park on us as the Grizzlies take on the Tacoma Rainiers. There will also be an incredible fireworks show Thursday and Friday that you will not want to miss. Join the competition by following the simple instructions below and start pinning!

  1. Follow the Fresno Grizzlies Pinterest Account
  2. Create your own Pin Board labeled “Fresno Grizzlies Baseball Pins”
  3. Repin at least 5 of our pins onto your “Fresno Grizzlies Baseball Pins” board
  4. Email the link to your board to  grizzliesmedia@fresnogrizzlies.com
  5. The most pinteresting and amusing “Fresno Grizzlies Baseball Pins” board, selected by the Grizzlies social media team, receives 4 free tickets to one of the opening games at Chukchansi Park April 4th-7th.

Contest ends Tuesday, April 2nd.

GOOD LUCK!

*Winners will be notified through email.

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