Brandon Belt, who wore jersey number 29 with the Grizzlies in 2011, counts us down to Opening Day on April 4th at Chukchansi Park. The left-handed hitting first baseman is one of the 17 of the 25 players on the Giants’ 2012 World Series roster who has played for the Grizzlies at one point in their careers.
“Baby Giraffe,” as his nickname goes, has played in 62 career games with the Grizzlies over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He holds a .291 batting average with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in a Grizzlies uniform.
Belt was a rapidly rising star in 2010 as he led all of the minor leagues in OPS (1.075) while also finishing 2nd in the minors in batting average (.352) and OBP (.455), 4th in RBIs (112), and 7th in slugging percentage (.620).
The 2011 season was little more rocky for the native Texan. He shuttled between San Francisco and Fresno, playing in 49 games with the Grizzlies and 63 with the Giants.
Then, in 2012, Belt became a World Series champion. Any 2011 disappointments were quickly awash.
Belt enters this year’s Spring Training with the security of the Giants starting first baseman job lined up. With the starting job in tow, Belt is 12-for-25 with 3 home runs and 6 RBIs in 8 games. Spring Training stats are moot once the season starts, but Belt is doing his part to carry plenty of momentum into the regular season.
The world has been taken over by the shake-filled meme, including some of the Fresno Grizzlies front office. Parker and the rest of the front office, however, show everyone the real Harlem Shake.
Today (March 4th) is National Grammar Day! Wait, you’re (not your) not excited? Who doesn’t love grammar?
National Grammar Day started in 2008 as instituted by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. It is not meant as a day to bash others on their lack of good grammar. March 4th is meant to commend others for what they do well with the English language.
One of the highlights from National Grammar Day is the Grammar Day Haiku Contest. Our haiku celebrates grammar as well. That is Graham-ar, as in former Grizzlies outfielder Tyler Graham. (Nobody said we are good with puns. We will stick to good grammar instead. Tough crowd.). It celebrates Tyler Graham’s record-breaking 60 stolen bases from 2011. The 60 steals are the most ever in a single season by a Grizzlies player in franchise history.
Flashback two years ago
60 steals, Grizzlies record
Have a day Graham-ar
Think you can do better? Leave your Grizzlies haiku in our comments section. We will tweet out our favorites.
Ryan Lollis, sporting jersey number 31 during the 2012 season, helps us count down to the 2013 Opening Day on Thursday, April 4th at Chukchansi Park.
Lollis, 26, played at the Triple-A level for the first time in his career last season. Over 50 games with the Grizzlies, the Houston, Texas native batted .309 with 9 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and 21 RBIs. He also posted a .393 OBP and .434 SLG.
The left-handed outfielder’s stint with the Grizzlies was unexpected, but due to injuries and Major League promotions during the middle of July, Lollis was able to get his first taste of Triple-A action. He became the Grizzlies’ everyday center fielder immediately after his first game on July 12 at Tucson.
One of Lollis’ standout performances from last year was his 3-double performance on August 2nd vs. Nashville. His final double of the night proved most vital as it was a walk-off hit to give the Grizzlies a 4-3 win in 11 innings.
Lollis began the 2012 season with Class A Advanced San Jose. He batted .296/.347/.418 over 75 games with the Giants.
He holds a .299 batting average with .364 OBP and .405 SLG over his 4-year career entering 2013. Lollis was drafted by San Francisco in the 37th round of the 2009 Draft out of the University of Missouri.
February has ended and March has arrived. While Grizzlies baseball starts on April 4th, Chukchansi Park will be hosting several events in the month leading up to baseball season.
On March 2nd, the Buchanan Babe Ruth baseball league will be hosting its baseball carnival on the Chukchansi Park field. Teams from the Buchanan league will play one-hour games between 9 am and 4 pm. Over 1,500 people are expected to be at Chukchansi Park throughout the day.
A week later on Saturday, March 9th, another baseball league will be hosting its annual carnival in Downtown Fresno. Central Babe Ruth baseball league will play a day full of games, including some games under the Chukchansi Park lights. Nearly 3,000 people will be at Chukchansi Park during the day and evening.
Sunday, March 24th is a big day for Chukchansi Park in more ways than one. After last year’s successful debut of Liga MX soccer at Chukchansi Park (an event that drew the largest crowd ever at the stadium), two new teams, the Monarcas de Morelia and Dorados de Sinaloa, will play an exhibition match.
Monarcas are based in Morelia, Michoacan and compete in the top league of Liga MX. Morelia won the 2010 SuperLiga after beating Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution in the finals.
Dorados are based in the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa. They compete in the Ascenso MX league, the second-tier of Mexican professional soccer. While they are a second division team, the Dorados feature Mexican soccer legend Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Blanco played for Mexico in three different World Cups and has also played for Club America of Liga MX.
March 24th kicks off with a Fresno Fuego intra-squad game at noon. There will also be a pre-game concert near the Tecate Cantina. Tickets for the Liga MX game can be purchased here.
Tony Torcato, who wore jersey number 34 in 2004, played for the Grizzlies between 2001 and 2005. The Giants’ 1st round pick from the 1998 Draft played in the San Francisco organization until 2005, including 43 games with the Giants between over four years.
Torcato is among the Grizzlies all-time leaders in several offensive categories. He is 2nd in hits (530) and games played (496), tied for 3rd in doubles (86), and 4th in RBIs (234).
Torcato’s final year in affiliated baseball was with the Chicago White Sox organization in 2006. His route to the White Sox system, though, was rather circuitous.
After the 2005 season, Torcato was released by the Giants. With no offers from American teams, the Woodland, Calif. native elected to play overseas.
Torcato joined a team in Grosseto, Italy, “playing three games a week on Fridays and Saturdays.”
“The competition was low,” Torcato said in an interview with Gary Traynham of the Democrat Sports Editor. “Some of the teams played like Valley High School, like the Bad News Bears. I said, ‘Man! Why am I doing this.'”
After joining the Chicago organization in May of 2006, Torcato went on to play in 78 games with Chicago’s Triple-A team, the Charlotte Knights, of the International League. He batted .249 with 2 home runs and 22 RBIs.
In 2008, Torcato played in the independent Golden Baseball League. He played for 2 teams: the Chico Outlaws and Long Beach Armada. It was his final year in pro baseball.
Travis Ishikawa, who wore jersey number 35 in his first season with the Grizzlies in 2008, helps us count down to Opening Day on April 4th.
The left-handed slugger out of Seattle, Wash. made quite a bit of noise in his first run with Fresno back in 2008. After starting the season with Double-A Connecticut, Ishikawa was transferred to the Grizzlies in mid-June. In 48 games with the Grizzlies, he batted .310 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs. Add in 19 doubles and 3 triples, Ishikawa posted an envious .737 slugging percentage in 2008.
By mid-August, Ishikawa earned his first taste of the Major Leagues. He would go on to finish the 2008 season with San Francisco, batting .274 with 3 home runs and 15 RBIs.
The 29-year-old played for the Giants in 2009 and 2010 before finishing his career with the San Francisco organization (for the time being at least) with the Grizzlies in 2011.
Ishikawa is currently in big league Spring Training with the Baltimore Orioles as a non-roster invitee.
Right-handed pitcher Andrew Kown was with the Grizzlies for both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Over 48 games (47 starts) in a Fresno uniform, Kown is 16-17 with a 5.00 ERA (142er, 252.2ip) and 169 strikeouts against 96 walks.
The 6’7″ hurler ranks in the top-10 for the Grizzlies’ all-time career totals in wins and games started.
In 2011, Kown tied with Matt Yourkin for the team lead in wins with 10. That same season, Kown was the lone player to represent the Grizzlies at the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game.
Fun fact: Kown drove in a run in his first start of the 2012 season on April 8. The RBI, which contributed to a Grizzlies 4-1 victory over Tucson, was just Kown’s second career RBI. His only previous RBI was recorded back in 2008 when he played for the Columbus Clippers. Both of his 2 career RBIs have been with 2 outs.
Kown has signed with the Giants organization once again for the 2013 season. He is at San Francisco’s minor league spring training camp.
The Marietta, Georgia native was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 5th round of the 2004 Draft out of Georgia Tech. He has also pitched for the Washington Nationals organization (2008-2010).
Pitcher Matt Palmer wore jersey number 38 in 2007 when he made 29 appearances (25 starts) for Fresno.
The right hander pitched for the Grizzlies between 2006 and 2008. He is 3rd on the Grizzlies’ all-time career strikeouts list (305) as well as 4th in all-time career wins (23).
The Memphis, Tenn. native pitched for the San Diego Padres organization in 2012, including 3 games with San Diego. He also made 20 starts for Tucson, going 6-9 with a 5.66 ERA. One of those losses was against Fresno on July 13th when he allowed 6 runs on 6 hits over 4 innings.
Palmer is currently in big league Spring Training with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-roster invite.
For what it’s worth, Palmer has only pitched for California-based Major League organizations: Giants, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego, and now Los Angeles Dodgers. California dreamin’.