Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

They Might Be Giants

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last week, you know that the Giants have survived a bizarre, emotionally draining, back-and-forth National League Division Series against Atlanta and are now preparing to face the monster known as the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS. These Phillies have made a late push for Team of the Decade, and could really secure their place in history as a dynasty with another championship in 2010. But first, they will have to get past the Giants’ pitching staff- one comprised mostly of former Grizzlies, including all four in the starting rotation.

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And just what did that rotation do in the Division Series? Oh, I don’t know, only combine to go 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA (3 ER/29.0 IP), walking just five while striking out an absurd 36 over that stretch. Yes, the combination of righties Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and southpaws Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner picked apart a piece-meal Braves lineup, one that had been decimated by injuries late in the season. Needless to say they will have their hands full with a much more potent Phillies offense, but their collective performance in the first round was pretty amazing.
Consider the fact that Cain was in Fresno in 2005, Sanchez and Lincecum in ’07, and Bumgarner as recently as June 20th of this season. This is the first time Grizzlies fans have really seen the players they used to cheer on in person having an impact in the postseason, at least for the Giants (nothing against Joe Nathan).
And while San Francisco didn’t have much to cheer about on offense, Buster Posey did share the Division Series lead among all National Leaguers with six hits and three runs scored. Plus, Pat Burrell slugged a three-run home run in Game 2, the biggest run-producing hit of the series. He’ll have his chance to shine again against the team that drafted him, and that he played nine seasons for in the Big Leagues.
The NLCS kicks off Saturday night in Philly. Crawl out from under that rock and cheer on your former Grizz, won’t you?

Grizzlies Alumni Report: Nate Schierholtz

By: Cody Turner


Who: Nate Schierholtz

When He Was a Grizzly: Played in 202 games from 2007-2008, and five games on MLB Rehab in 2009.

Fresno Highlights:

  • Became the first Grizzlies player to hit for the cycle on May 26, 2008
  • Was a member of Team USA at the 2008 All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium
  • Was awarded PCL Player-of-the-Week honors for the week ending May 7, 2007.
  • Tallied 10 triples over the course of the 2008 season – second most for a single season in Grizzlies franchise history.

Where He Went From Here: After making his MLB debut on June 11, 2007, Schierholtz played parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Giants before making the Opening Day roster in 2009.

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Where He Is Now: Nate is currently finishing up his second full season with the Giants.


Career Highlights:         

  • Had a pinch-RBI single in the sixth inning of the September 28th game against the Diamondbacks, breaking a 2-2 tie en route to a 4-2 Giants win.
  • Delivered a two-run triple in the top of the 11th inning on September 6, 2010 to propel the Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Participated on the United States Olympic Team during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
  • Hit an inside-the-park home run on June 14, 2009 – just the fourth in AT&T Park history.   

Prospect Watch: Brandon Belt


Ed. Note: This will be the first of (hopefully) many looks into possible members of the 2011 Grizzlies squad. Even with the graduation of Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, there is still plenty of talent left in the Giants system. The man in the early running for top talent heading into next year? Brandon Belt.

You will
have to forgive him, but this is all a bit new to Brandon Belt. While the
22-year-old has always been a solid player with a good swing, he is suddenly
being touted as the next great Giants prospect, flying up the ranks of the
minor leagues. In just his first professional season, he arrived in Fresno and was
placed in the middle of the lineup of a team fighting for a postseason spot.
While that might be overwhelming for some players just three years removed from
high school, the even-keeled Belt seems up to the challenge.

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In his
second at-bat in a Grizzlies uniform, against division-rival Sacramento, on the
road, Belt torched a searing line drive to one of the deepest parts of the park
for a solo home run. He would go on to walk three times in the game as well,
scoring three of Fresno’s five total runs.

Just how
Brandon Belt found himself at Raley Field last week is something of a surprise.
The former Texas Longhorn put up solid, if unspectacular, numbers in his two
seasons of Division I ball after transferring from San Jacinto College in
Houston. He had decided not to sign after being selected by the Boston Red Sox out
of high school in the 11th round in 2006, and again passed on an 11th
round selection– this time by Atlanta– in 2007. After his two years at Texas,
the Giants made him a fifth-round selection last year.

Belt did not
log any game time in 2009 after signing, but he did go to minor league
instructional camp, where Giants coaches made a couple of adjustments to his
swing, raising his hands and opening his stance a bit.

“It seems
minor, but it takes time to adjust,” he says of the mechanical changes. “I
worked on it all off-season, so I felt like I was ready once this year started.”

That
certainly showed in his numbers. After batting .383 with a .492 on-base
percentage, 28 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 62 RBI in just 77 games
with High-A San Jose, Belt moved up to the pitcher-friendly Eastern League.
There, with Double-A Richmond, he posted a .337 average with 11 doubles, six
triples, nine homers and 40 RBI in just 46 games. That gave him 68 extra-base
hits between the two levels, over which he also stole 20 bases. Belt’s home run
in his first game with Fresno made him just the second player in the minor
leagues this year with 20 doubles, steals and home runs.

Not bad for
a rookie. But perhaps the most impressive part of Belt’s success has been his
ability to hold up all summer. He acknowledges that the hardest part of
adjusting to professional ball has been the length of the season, which
includes more than twice as many games as a college schedule.

“Mentally it
took a while to get prepared for,” he explains. “And now the physical fatigue
starts to set in at the end of the season.”

Although
that season will not include a Major League call-up just yet, it will last a
little longer for Belt, who is due to report to the prospect showcase known as
the Arizona Fall League in a few weeks. With what he’s accomplished this year,
his 2011 season will be looked at under a magnifying glass, by everyone from the
front office in San Francisco to the television analysts at ESPN and writers at
Baseball America. But Belt isn’t
about to put too much pressure on himself.

“I’m not
saying I won’t have goals,” he explains. “I just understand how the game is,
that good and bad things happen. I’m just trying to be as consistently good as
I can be throughout the season.”

The way
things have gone, his next season may well start right here in Fresno.

Day In The Life Of…An Intern

By: Chris Kutz

When the word “Intern” comes to mind, most people think of a
young, nave college kid all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of ambition,
slowly eased into the business world by being assigned mundane duties such as
making copies, distributing mail, getting coffee for the entire office, or
anything else that falls under the last line in most job descriptions: “All
other assigned duties.”

Fortunately, my internship with the Grizzlies has
materialized into more than such a role. Sure, there are going to be times when,
as interns, we will be called to do such things as making copies because we are
stuck at the bottom of the totem pole, but it is safe to say we are allowed to
make the most of our own experiences here at Chukchansi Park.

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When I step into the office around 10 in the morning
(without the office’s daily dose of caffeine mind you), I try to jump into a
project that was given to me the day before. It gives me an ease of mind
because I know what I need to do immediately while it also helps those hierarchically
above us who are also just getting into the office after a late game from the
night before (Groggy co-workers + energetic but conniving questions of “Do you
have anything for me to do?” = bad start to an always good day). For example,
right now I have been digging deep for some facts about your Fresno Grizzlies
so that we can share them with you via the spanking new video boards at
Chukchansi Park.

(Did you know Brock Bond reached base in 51 consecutive
games last year? That’s longer than some players’ careers! Or that Buster Posey
played all nine positions in one game during his time at Florida State? At the
same time? Ok, that last part was not true but the first one was. Either way, cue
the Chuck Norris-esque websites now, Giants fans, because the legend of Gerald
“Buster” Posey continues to grow.)

Now, I am a baseball junkie, hence interning with a
professional baseball team, so any cool facts/info I dig up about our players are
awesome to me, and I hope the fans find it interesting as well. The research
may become less exciting farther and farther in, but we when I stumble upon
something new, a dose of baseball Red Bull kicks in. Besides, things change on
the fly so often in the office, we all can be working on numerous things at one
time. This can help eliminate potential boredom. 

Other daily duties, specifically on game days, include
creating the pre-game scroll that we roll through on the video board with
statistical leaders in the PCL and on the Grizzlies. I usually start this
around 3 in the afternoon to make sure it’s done with plenty of time before
gates open at 5:30. Also, interesting facts and trends about the team we find go
on the scroll as well. As interns, we help set up the press box food so the
ravenous members of the media upstairs appease their growling stomachs (Lesson
#1 I learned during my first internship last season: Never screw up the food!
You can quickly learn the darker side of others when the spread does not meet
the standards of our entry-level foodies.)

During the game, I work in the video room, operating part of
the video board. A group of us throw up the headshots of players, stats, videos,
music, sponsorships, etc; all following the script laid out to us, trying to
provide the fans with information and entertainment to improve their experience
at the game.

After the game, around 10-ish or whenever the Grizzlies
finally claim victory, I edit some highlights from the game and send it out to the local television stations. This is something new from last year, but it is
very important for us and the news. It helps them have footage for their
telecasts, especially with late-game footage after the cameras have gone back
to station and begin prep for the late evening news. For us, it helps us give
those fans that could not make it out to the game some images and video they
can talk about the next day around the water cooler.

While the whole experience is worthwhile, my favorite part
of the internship gig is interacting with the players while trying to set up
interviews with media. Professional athletes and celebrities are often cast as in-human
because they play a character in our lives. We only see them on TV or on the
internet. Obviously, the Grizzlies are just your everyday human beings (with a
slight increase in baseball-playing ability relative to, say your neighbor);
not characters or robots without simple human interests like you and I. Since
baseball players have downtime, movies and music are always good topics of
conversations, as opposed to last night’s extraordinary (or less-than-ordinary)
performance at the plate.

Since I cannot say I have bad experiences with my internship
(and no, that is not being said because my bosses will more than likely read
this), I will provide insight into the one thing most people are baffled by the
most: the amount of hours put in. If you work for a baseball team, you will
probably be working at least 12-hour days during home games. Now, add eight of
those together for the typical homestand, you can find yourself working almost
100 hours in a week (homestands don’t always conveniently begin on Mondays like
most work weeks.).

A uniform “ugh” usually follows when others hear of so many
hours at work, but for all of us, it’s great because we are working jobs we
like. People work in sports because they want to be there; few, if any, settle
for a job in sports. Sports allow people to find something they are passionate
about and can be creative with. Twelve hours may be seem like more than
necessary, but when we walk into our office and see a baseball field outside,
apathy and boredom quickly disappear like a moonshot soaring into Borchard’s Orchard in left-center.

Catching, Up

By: Noah Frank

So it’s been
a while since our last post, and since then the Grizzlies have done nothing but
go out and notch the best 50-game stretch to open a season in franchise
history
. The team has led by as many as 10.5 games over second place in the Pacific
South Division of the PCL, and had 33 wins against just 18 losses to start
June. Not bad for a team that has seen the post-season only once in its first
12 years as a franchise- the inaugural season, all the way back in 1998.

Just as the
Grizzlies have settled in, so have we over here at Yard Work, getting our 

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reinforcements on board in the form of our summer interns. With extra hands on
deck on, we will be bringing you regular updates. Look for the first Drag Kings Mailbag, installments of our Day In The Life Of… series and much more. You, the
fan, will even have a chance to get involved, as we encourage you to tell us
why yours is the Best Seat In The House. Starting in June, we will pick the
Yard Work Fan of the Month each month through the end of the season. We will
feature your story and have a full pictorial and interview with you about your
Grizzlies experience.

Enter to be
the Fan Of The Month via email to info@fresnogrizzlies.com,
with Fan Of The Month in the subject line. You can also send the Drag Kings
your questions to the same email, info@fresnogrizzlies.com,
with Mailbag in the subject line, and Silkee, Jeeves, Patty Melt and The Kid
will answer them in the inaugural edition later this month.

Now, I
promised you two more interviews, so here is the first one.

When I spoke
to Buster Posey in the home locker room at Scottsdale Stadium in the middle of
Spring Training, no decisions had been made yet as to where anyone would start
the season. Posey was just focused on soaking up as much as he could from being
around the Major League pitching staff every day, appreciating the invaluable
experience he was gaining in the process.

When I asked
him if there were any surprise arms to keep an eye on this season, he dropped
an intriguing name on me- not one that I expected. As it turned out, that
pitcher would start the season with Posey in Fresno and actually beat him to
San Francisco this season. The two have since been reunited, with Posey’s
Memorial Day weekend promotion to the Giants. Listen in to find out which
former Grizzly and current Giant Buster had an eye on all the way back in
March.

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Miller Time

By: Noah Frank


Well,
I promised I’d deliver it to you, so here it is: our exclusive interview with
Jon
Miller
from the Scottsdale Stadium press box. Listen in as I try not to
stammer too much and let Jon compose and weave his tapestry of language in
regards to everything San Francisco Giants and Fresno Grizzlies-related.

 

Board At Work

For those of you who haven’t yet heard the good news, Chukchansi Park is in the midst of a nice little off-season makeover. The old video and matrix boards are being taken apart as you read this, and new video boards will be installed starting next week and be ready (hopefully!) by Opening Day. In addition to the regular board being a nice upgrade from the original model, the matrix board will also have video capability, meaning all kinds of fun new graphics to keep you Grizzlies fans entertained this season.scoreboard.jpg

As you can see, the construction crews are already going full-speed ahead. Thankfully, the weather has cleared up here in the Valley, so they’ve been able to operate under sunny skies for the last week. Word on the street is that there might even be a popular member of the Grizzlies staff (a very furry, orange staff member) who is pitching in to try to help us beat the clock as we count down to Opening Day on Friday, April 16th. After all, if you recall, he was the one who put us in this predicament in the first place.

In the meantime, there is plenty else going on in Grizzlies-land, as we’ve released our full promo schedule including fireworks night, giveaways, theme nights and celebrity guests. We also just announced our weekly promotions, chalked full with some awesome value nights.

Next up I’ll post my interview with Giants broadcaster Jon Miller from Spring Training as he breaks down what to expect on the field from your 2010 Grizzlies.

Hope Spring(s) Eternal

It’s another beautiful weekend in the Valley of the Sun. Former and future Grizzlies alike are mixed among veterans and the practice fields are full of players as the teams have yet to make their first round of cuts, when they will send players back to minor league camp.

The Giants hold their Spring Training at Scottsdale Stadium, a beautiful complex with a capacity close to that of Chukchansi Park. Of course, the stadium itself is not quite as big (no upper deck), but has a grass berm that stretches across most of the outfield.

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On Saturday the house was completely stuffed as the A’s came to town. I know this because the official attendance was exactly 12,000, the fire marshall-mandated capacity at the ballpark. It was a nice preview of this year’s Highway 99 rivalry, as rising prospects from both organizations were on hand. When you look at the depth of both of the organizations, it’s easy to see how Sacramento and Fresno could be battling all year for the PCL Pacific Southern Division crown.
Matt Cain, who won 10 games as a starter for the Grizzlies in 2005, was on the hill for San Francisco Saturday. He was shaky early and dug the Giants in a hole, but the offense pitched in and made things interesting. Buster Posey went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI as the team closed the gap to 8-7, but they came up short.
Today’s game sees a Brewers squad very light on Major League talent facing off against Jonathan Sanchez. Former Grizzly Fred Lewis is in left and Nate Schierholtz is in right, in what’s shaping up to be a high-scoring affair with the wind gusting straight out to center field.
Bud Selig literally just stepped into the press box in the middle of me posting this article, and is now addressing the media, so I’m going to sign off for now. More to come in the next week from Arizona including interviews with Cain, Posey and legendary Giants broadcaster Jon Miller.

Welcome!

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Well, hello there. Welcome to Yard Work, the official blog
of the Fresno Grizzlies. WhileFresnoGrizzlies.com
will continue to handle all your daily news and information about the team,
Yard Work will take a look behind the scenes of what it takes to put on an
entire season of minor league baseball. With contributions from front office
staff, players, coaches, interns, the Drag Kings and even fans
themselves, it will provide you with a unique, inside look into the
personalities that make Grizzlies baseball so much fun.


With another award-winning
season
in the books, the organization is looking forward to a great 2010. Our newly
revamped website is up and running, bringing our fans more stories, pictures
and videos than ever before. Plus, this season’s promotional calendar, which is
being rolled out this week, will offer fans an unprecedented level of
involvement in choosing what they want to see at the ballpark this spring and
summer.

On the field, the Grizzlies will welcome new manager Steve Decker for
the upcoming season. Decker will have at his disposal some of the budding stars
of the top-ranked minor league system in the National League, according to Baseball
America
. We’ll know more about just who those players will be in the coming
weeks, as the Giants narrow down their 25-man roster in Spring Training. I’ll
be down in Scottsdale this weekend, talking with players, coaches and Giants
front-office folk and will be writing a couple of entries about the experience.

Remember everyone, Opening Day is just around the corner on Friday,
April 16th. The Grizzlies take on the Portland Beavers at Chukchansi Park
at 7:05pm with Decker and Portland
skipper Terry Kennedy, former catching teammates with the Giants,
matched up against each other as managers for the first time.

More to come this weekend from Arizona!

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