Results tagged ‘ 10-For-10 ’

10-For-10: Rich Palmer & Claudia Loyear

By: Noah Frank

Ed. Note: The 10-for-10 series is a chance for us at the Grizzlies to celebrate 10 years in Downtown Fresno by thanking 10 of our great fans. If you know a deserving fan who has helped support Grizzlies baseball that you would like to nominate, simply email us at grizzliesmedia@fresnogrizzlies.com.

The word unique is one of the most overused in our society. We often call something unique when we really mean unusual, rare, or just different. The word should really only be used in its proper context, when we are talking about something, or someone, that is in fact one of a kind. That being said, Rich Palmer truly is a unique Grizzlies fan.

So what makes Rich so different? Well, let’s start with the obvious.

“I don’t live in Fresno,” says the Mountain View resident, making him the only Grizzlies season ticket holder whose primary residence is outside the Central Valley. “When I first came to see the Grizzlies in 1998 on the final weekend of the season, I caught the Saturday night game, and I really liked it. I came back the following year and I saw probably two or three games. Then in 2000, I saw maybe a half a dozen games, and then in 2001 I bought season tickets.”

Palmer has had them ever since. He even considered purchasing an ownership stake in the team a few years ago, but ultimately decided that he preferred his vantage point as a fan. As such, he has built relationships with many in the front office, and often sits in the press box during games.

The question, though, that no doubt comes up in the mind of anyone who is both a Giants and Grizzlies fan (of which Rich is both), is why he would choose to travel over 150 miles and nearly three hours to see Minor League Baseball, when he could be at AT&T Park in under an hour. In the answer to that question, one finds the many things that showcase minor league ball for the special property that it is.

Mr. and Mrs. Rich Palmer at their wedding reception last weekend.

“I really like Minor League Baseball because I can get really close to the game,” says Palmer. “My seats are up close and I get to know a lot of people who turn out for the game, season ticket holders, real baseball fans who like to discuss the game.”

As any veteran of games in the bay area— especially those at Candlestick Park— are aware, there is a significant weather advantage to the evenings in Fresno as well.

“The other thing I like about it, over San Francisco, is that it’s warm. I can come out in a t-shirt and I can really enjoy a beer.”

And while Major League teams are increasingly mimicking the minor league model, stuffing their downtime between innings with other entertainment, the level of fan involvement in the friendly confines of the smaller ballparks remains more tangible and personable to Palmer.

“There’s something kind of attractive in a homey sort of way, in the entertainment between innings that you get to see,” he says. “Some of it is really innovative and pretty engaging.”

Of course, the difference in ticket prices doesn’t hurt either.

“I had very good seats with the Giants,” explains Palmer. “But they cost me about six times what my season tickets with the Grizzlies cost me.”

While Rich has been invested in the team for a decade, he became much more heavily tied to both the Grizzlies and Fresno last year. That’s when he met Claudia Loyear, a longtime Fresnan who teaches and runs an interior design business here in town. But even though she had lived here her whole life, Claudia had never been to a Grizzlies game until Friday, April 16th, 2010. If you’re going to be introduced to baseball, Opening Day is not a bad way to go.

“We had probably been dating about four or five months,” Rich says about the time leading up to their first baseball date. “She knew that I was going to Opening Night, that I was a baseball guy, and that she would have to make a decision about whether or not to come with me.”

Needless to say, it would not be the last time she came to the park. The Grizzlies did their part to make her first game a memorable one, erasing a 1-0 deficit with a run in the eighth and another in the ninth to walk off with a 2-1 win in front of a capacity crowd. But there was much more to the game that had Claudia coming back for more.

“She’s discovered life-long friends of hers that have seats in the section over, or the section after that,” says Rich. “So it’s very easy for her to come to the ballpark and to socialize.”

And, well, there’s a bear too.

Parker puts his stamp of approval on the weekend's festivities.

“I’m not quite certain about why it is,” posits Rich, smiling. “But there is a small Parker shrine (at her house), with pictures of her and Parker.”

Claudia has become one of Parker’s biggest fans, ever since he dropped by the couples’ seats during her first game. Some (read: Rich) might even call it a bit of an obsession.

But Claudia’s appreciation of the game extends beyond just her friends and the bear. She has found a game that she loves right here in her own backyard. Having grown up on the much faster-paced sport of basketball, she enjoys the pedestrian meter that baseball provides. It has also allowed her to enjoy her summers with the man she loves, and to whom she is now married.

Rich and Claudia tied the knot over the weekend, in a private ceremony here in Fresno. Friends and family were treated to a beautiful reception at an estate on North Van Ness Avenue. After the speeches were finished and the wedding cake fed to one another the couple stepped out for the first dance of the evening. And what do you suppose the first song was? Why yes, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, at the bride’s request. Even the cupcakes given to guests were designed like baseballs, white frosting with red laces and an orange and black “P”, for Palmer, in the middle.

But the weekend’s festivities would not have been complete without a visit from that mischievous bear.

“I did caution him at the Hot Stove Dinner,” Palmer jokes. “If I found any yellow, polyester hair anywhere in the house that he was going to be a bear-skin rug.”

Nevertheless, Parker couldn’t help but show up for brunch at Claudia’s house the morning after the wedding. Always the show-stealer, he posed for pictures with the newlyweds, even posing to ordain the couple in front of the baseball gods.

Now that it’s official, we can’t wait to host Mr. and Mrs. Palmer for their first game as husband and wife on Opening Day, 2012.

10-for-10: Vincent Arellano

By: Josh Jackson

 

Ed. Note: The 10-for-10 series is a chance for us at the Grizzlies to celebrate 10 years in Downtown Fresno by thanking 10 of our great fans. If you know a deserving fan who has helped support Grizzlies baseball that you would like to nominate, simply email us at grizzliesmedia@fresnogrizzlies.com.

Most of us take the simple things in life that bring us joy for granted. Walking to school in the morning, driving to work, or even going to a baseball game can seem fairly ordinary. However, the challenges of daily life become much more rigorous, and simple joys are harder to take advantage of when a person does not have their health. So when the opportunity presents itself to enrich this person’s life with strength, hope and joy, those who are fortunate must take advantage of it.

Vincent Arellano is a young boy who suffers from Sanfilippo Syndrome, a metabolism disorder that is passed down through families. People with this disease are unable to break down certain chains of sugar molecules. There are four types of Sanfilippo Syndrome. Vincent has type B (MPS III B), which damages the barrier responsible for protecting the brain from harmful substances in the blood. Over time, this compromises the functionality of the brain, disabling basic functions like speech, motor skills and decision-making. The life expectancy for a child with Sanfilippo Syndrome is only 12-20 years. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for this disease.

Parker meets Vincent for the first time

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, a wish-granting organization for children with life-threatening illnesses, reached out to Vincent. When asked what he wanted as his wish, Vincent asked to meet his favorite mascot, Parker. When the Grizzlies found out about this, the organization thought it would be a great opportunity to help Vincent and his family have a remarkable experience down at Chukchansi Park. When informed about the situation by Grizzlies executives, Parker was more than thrilled to be able to hang out with one of his biggest fans for a game. Anybody who knows Parker is aware of how much he loves his fans. The Grizzlies organization, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Parker himself, were excited about the opportunity to give Vincent an extraordinary day!

Saturday, July 23rd, was set to be Vincent’s big day at Chukchansi Park to watch the Grizzlies and meet Parker for the first time. He arrived in style, as a stretched limo dropped Vincent off in front of the ticket office with the rest of his family. Once Parker saw the limousine pulling up out front, he pounced his way through the pregame crowd on the sidewalk and jumped onto the hood of the limo in excitement. Vincent was equally excited to meet his new friend. Parker greeted Vincent with a big bear hug and also handed Vincent a baseball and a Mascot baseball card, both signed by Parker. The look on Vincent’s face told the whole story to everyone who was watching.

Parker and the Arellano family went up to their suite on the third floor so Vincent and his new furry friend could hang out before game time. The family laughed the whole way. Vincent seemed excited to see his name on the tag outside the suite, but he didn’t know how to take the news he was about to receive. The hardest working bear in all of Minor League Baseball invited Vincent down on the field for some of the pregame activities. He also asked Vincent to throw out the first pitch!

Parker and the Arellano Family

Once Vincent was escorted down onto the field with his family, everyone could see how overwhelmed he was with emotion. Parker went through his regular pregame routine, but this day was different, as he had Vincent by his side to join in on the fun in front of the Grizzlies dugout.

When it came time for the ceremonial first pitch, Vincent approached the mound, escorted by his mother. He was hesitant at first, seemingly nervous as he stood very close to his mother, reluctant to throw the ball to the catcher behind home plate. Being the loyal friend that Parker is known to be, he ran over to the mound to give support to his new buddy. Vincent took one look at his furry friend standing by his side, and hurled the baseball towards home plate with confidence. The courageous young boy got the recognition he deserved from the crowd. Vincent walked off the field with a big, contagious smile on his face, receiving high fives and slaps on the back from some of the Grizzlies players standing by.

The Arellano family went back up to their suite with Vincent to enjoy the rest of the day’s festivities. A whole baseball game had yet to be played, but a wish had already been fulfilled for a brave young boy. Not only did he get to meet his favorite mascot, but he got to take part in Parker’s daily routine as well. Considering that Vincent has to live a life full of challenges, the Fresno Grizzlies and the Make-A-Wish Foundation were thrilled to give Vincent and his family a day in which they would never forget.

Maybe you were at the ballpark that day. Perhaps you were sitting down in your seats as the ceremonial first pitches were taking place. You probably did not even notice anything special going on before the game. What may have been an ordinary day for you or me was a day that enriched the human experience of a young boy named Vincent.

10-for-10: Brett, Meet Rhett

By: Ellen Ward

Ed. Note: The 10-for-10 series is a chance for us at the Grizzlies to celebrate 10 years in Downtown Fresno by thanking 10 of our great fans. If you know a deserving fan who has helped support Grizzlies baseball that you would like to nominate, simply email us at grizzliesmedia@fresnogrizzlies.com.

Rhett sitting on top of the Grizzlies dugout

Most would say that infielder Brett Pill’s biggest fan is his mother, but she has some recent competition. Eight-year-old Rhett Noblett began playing little league this year, which sparked his interest in the Fresno Grizzlies. He witnessed his first professional baseball game at Chukchansi Park earlier in the season and that is where he laid eyes on his soon to be favorite player, Brett Pill.

“Brett was the first player to acknowledge Rhett,” explained his father, David Noblett. “Since then he always asks to go to games so he can watch him play.”

A few months later, Rhett attended the annual Grizzlies Baseball Camp that is run by Grizzlies players, coaches, and manager Steve Decker. He sported a different Pill jersey almost everyday of camp, which caught the eye of staff members and players.

When asked what position Rhett plays in little league, his father chuckled. “Second base, just like Pill.”

“He seems so genuine,” admits David. “He is always one of the first players to sign autographs for kids before the game. Fans notice things like that.”

Even when the Grizzlies are away from Chukchansi Park, Rhett always asks his parents to check the game online to see how Pill is doing that night.

Pill knew exactly which kid it was when he was asked about his youngest fan.

Brett & Rhett at the jersey auction on July 9th

“I think his name is Rhett, which is close to mine,” Brett explained of how the two met. “[Rhett] was at the camp with the Pill jersey on and Decker asked me to come the last day. So the first time I met him was the last day of camp and then he bought my jersey that night at the jersey auction.”

When a fan purchases the jersey at an auction, they are escorted onto the field to pose for pictures with the player. Before Rhett and his father even approached him on the field, Pill was looking into the stands, trying to get his family’s attention so he could point out his young fan to them. Brett took a knee and posed for pictures with Rhett and his new, game-worn jersey.

“His dad said he had three jerseys with my name on it and always wants to know how I did,”  Pill reflected. “Its kind of cool because sometimes you get caught up playing everyday in the grind and you see something like that and it definitely inspires you to play harder.”

Rhett probably never thought that he would inspire his favorite player to run a little faster or dive for the ball a little harder, but that is exactly what he is doing.

Rhett sporting one of his custom made jerseys

“They come to most of the games and sit kind of by first base,” pointed out Brett.  “Hopefully he is there a lot so I can get to know him even more.”

Rhett and his family plan on attending as many Grizzlies games as they can to get a glimpse of Pill before he reaches the majors. It just  goes to show that even the smallest fan can have the biggest impact on a player, even one on the brink of the majors.

10-for-10: Marilyn Meadors

By: Noah Frank

Ed. Note: The 10-for-10 series is a chance for us at the Grizzlies to celebrate 10 years in Downtown Fresno by thanking 10 of our great fans. This is the first installment in the new series, which we will be running up to (and possibly through) Opening Day. If you know a deserving fan who has helped support Grizzlies baseball that you would like to nominate, simply email us at grizzliesmedia@fresnogrizzlies.com.

When I started this series, I put out a call to you, the readers, to help tell the stories of 10 fans that have helped us celebrate 10 years together in Downtown Fresno. As I asked you all for submissions, I wasn’t sure of the response I would get. As it turned out, I was deluged by nominations, with one name standing out from the rest: Marilyn Meadors.

I must confess I had really only heard of Marilyn through fellow coworkers here at Chukchansi Park, so learning more about her was a revelation as to how big a fan of the Grizzlies she really is. Once from Dinuba, Marilyn and her husband Craig now live in Clovis, just 15 minutes from the ballpark. Why the relocation?

“The Grizzlies actually were one of the reasons we moved to this area,” she said.

Marilyn and Madison

Bumgarner smiles.

When you attend as many games as Marilyn and Craig do, it’s no surprise. Marilyn is as close to a team mom as we have here in Fresno. When people talk about Minor League Baseball being a family environment, they are referring to the relationships that fans like Marilyn have with both the players and her fellow fans.

“A friend of mine said ‘you wish that everyone of those players was your son’, and it’s true,” she admits with a smile.

If the players are her sons (or grandsons), then her fellow season ticket holders are her brothers and sisters in this Grizzlies baseball family. She cited a number of different die-hard fans that have become some of her closest friends over the last decade. More than that, though, she talked about how excited she is to just come to the ballpark every day and talk to the casual fans who come to Downtown Fresno each season.

“You just meet a lot of people that you have something major in common with,” she laughed. “If you can’t talk about anything else, you can definitely talk about baseball.”

Marilyn and Parker

When you have as many baseball memories as Marilyn does, it can be hard to pick a favorite. She listed a number, but a few stood out in particular.

“The more recent one, of course, is just being able to sit and chat with Buster Posey at the meet-and-greet,” she recalled, speaking of the annual preseason event. “I did get (Madison) Bumgarner to smile,” she laughed.

I asked her what she was looking forward to the most this season, and she cited the next wave of upcoming talent, highlighted by the possibility of seeing top prospect Brandon Belt here in Fresno.

“He’s one of my Facebook friends,” she says of Belt, something that I can’t even claim. “I grabbed him while he was still young.”

Speaking of being young, Marilyn had also read the first installment of our 10-for-10 series, in which we profiled our youngest season ticket holder, 17-year-old Justin Renge. I’ll leave you with her observation, which is a great thought as we sit on the brink of another baseball season.

“I’m 67, and the young man that you interviewed is 17. I’m thinking ‘that’s a 50-year span. Isn’t that cool?’ There’s 50 years difference and yet we still have the same passion for the game of baseball. I think that’s just so much fun.”

And that, as much as than anything, is what baseball is all about.

Pressed? Word.

By: Noah Frank

If things look a little different around Yard Work these days, it’s because we (along with the rest of the MLB blog world) have made the switch over to Word Press. While the new platform offers a lot of great new options for us, it is also exposing my rudimentary HTML skills for what they are. So forgive us if it takes a couple weeks to get all of our archives updated so they all look pretty. You know, we’ve got that whole Opening Day thing coming up, so we’re kinda busy.

In the meantime, we’ll have the next 10-for-10 for you tomorrow, and plenty of great stuff once the season starts. If you’re not already following us on Facebook, make sure to like us to have a chance to win great Prizes From Parker now through April 7th. That’s all for now…

10-For-10: Justin Renge

By: Noah Frank

Ed. Note: The 10-for-10 series is a chance for us at the Grizzlies to celebrate 10 years in Downtown Fresno by thanking 10 of our great fans. This is the first installment in the new series, which we will be running up to (and possibly through) Opening Day. If you know a deserving fan who has helped support Grizzlies baseball that you would like to nominate, simply email us at grizzliesmedia@fresnogrizzlies.com.

Sometime last year I had the idea that it might be fun to do some sort of “Fan of the Month” type feature for Yard Work. We have an awesome collection of loyal season ticket holders here in Fresno, but I wasn’t sure how to properly construct the series for this blog. Then suddenly, a couple weeks ago, opportunity literally came knocking at the door.

Pat Wallach, our Box Office Manager here at the Grizzlies, sent out a staff-wide email about an encounter he had just had with our newest season ticket holder. Pat had gotten a phone call from a mom who said her son, Justin, was interested in buying season tickets. He had arranged for them to come down to the ballpark and take a look at seats. All in all, it was a fairly normal interaction, so far as Pat could tell.

“I didn’t really think twice about it,” reflected Pat. “I didn’t ask any questions about how old he was or anything.”

IMG_9530.jpg

See, Justin is just 17, a senior at Fowler High School. He has been a Grizzlies fan since Chukchansi Park opened back in 2002, but really stepped up his fandom last year, when he attended somewhere between 50-60 of the Grizzlies’ 72 home games. He figured that this year he might as well just buy a full season ticket so he could also enjoy all the perks that come with being one of our season ticket holders. So Pat showed him around the ballpark.

“He took me out and showed me some of the seats and we talked about where I would possibly be,” Justin explained.

Where he would have been was in the Terrace View seats, down the right field line. While every seat is close to field at Chukchansi Park, most season ticket holders sit a little nearer to home plate. Of course Justin would have wanted to sit closer, but the Terrace View seats were all that he could afford.

See, this was not some birthday gift from his family. Justin was there to spend his own money, to find his own seat. As Pat found out that day, Justin had saved all of his money since the end of the 2010 season and added what he received for the holidays to come up with enough for his ticket package. Pat was blown away by Justin’s knowledge of the team and commitment to joining the season ticket holder ranks.

“He knows more about the Grizzlies and the Giants than me, I think” Pat said, laughing. “He’s one of the biggest Grizzlies fans I’ve met in my entire life.”

Looking at the seat that Justin could afford– but that would leave him sitting far away from the bulk of our season ticket holders– Pat made an executive decision.

IMG_9533.jpg

“I remember thinking ‘I don’t know if I should do this, or if I even have the power to do this, but I’m going to move you to Section 106 and get you on the Field Level.’”

That meant the chance to officially join the group of the most tried and true Grizzlies fans. It wasn’t a hard decision for Justin.

“He actually presented me with the opportunity,” Justin said with a smile. “And I accepted.”

It’s one of those moments that exists only in the world of sports, and even then doesn’t come around often enough.

“Something like this has never happened,” said Pat, who has been with the Grizzlies for four seasons. “It’s the coolest sale that I’ve ever made. It’s the best feeling, just knowing that there are people out there who love baseball that much.”

Looking forward to 2011, Justin says he’s most excited about the prospects that are coming through Fresno this year.

“Hopefully it will be as good as last year when we had Bumgarner and Posey. We’ll see what happens.”

Whatever happens,
Justin will be there to see every game, from the comfort of his own, personal
seat.

(Photos of Justin Renge by Pat Wallach)

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