Results tagged ‘ Parker ’

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.

Trade Deadline Gives Parker Fans a Scare

By: Josh Jackson

Early Monday morning, rumors had surfaced in the local Fresno media that a trade had been approved that would send Grizzlies mascot, Parker, to another team in the PCL. The trade deadline had already come and gone on July 31st at 4:00 p.m. ET, but a few media entities were speculating that a deal had been reached prior to the deadline.

Many were skeptical of these rumors at first. After all, Parker is known across Minor League Baseball as the hardest working bear in all of the Central Valley. It was hard for people to grasp the concept of the Grizzlies letting go of one of their most valuable assets. In fact, after initial trade rumors had been reported and word spread via Twitter, PCL opponents Tacoma and Sacramento publicly denied involvement in any mascot trading with the Fresno Grizzlies, adding to further skepticism amongst the public.

Photo Credit: Don Davis

The local Fresno media remained hot on the story, as the paparazzi were able to catch Parker at the Greyhound Bus Station Downtown Monday afternoon. He was seen purchasing a ticket to Reno, Nevada, which greatly intensified the trade rumors. Media sources tried to get a confirmation from the Reno Aces that a mascot trade agreement had been reached between the two organizations, however Aces executives remained silent throughout the process.

Fans filed into Chukchansi Park on Monday night fearing the worst. On-field MC Travis Sheridan introduced Parker to the fans as usual, and the furry celebrity rode in on his yellow ATV from the center field gate.  He waved to the fans as he made his way around the warning track. “Parker Protocol” is to stop behind home plate and interact with the fans and players for the duration of pregame. This time was different though, as Parker continued his way around the warning track and back out through center field, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and not the usual Grizzlies jersey, waving to his beloved fans along the way. Some could not believe it, but for the time being it seemed like Fresno had seen the last of their furry friend.

To the relief of Grizzlies fans and the Central Valley as a whole, it was announced after the second inning that Parker would be staying in Fresno. The rumors had stemmed from Parker’s attempts to ship Dereks Franks, his hot dog-slinging arch-nemesis mascot, to Reno. There has been a lot of tension between the two ever since their confrontation with each other on Mascot Wrestling Night back on July 23. Sources say that Parker has been secretly shopping Franks on the trade market for the past week or so. It wasn’t until just a couple days ago that Parker found a suitor for Franks. In return for their new hot dog mascot, Reno agreed to send Parker a new super hero outfit, a box of silly string and a marketing intern, a nice return for the bear.

Parker and Dereks Franks exchange heated words on Mascot Wrestling Night

The deal appeared to be done, however the trade was never finalized due to some clerical shortcomings on Parker’s behalf. All of the paperwork had been completed, but Parker failed to fax it off to the league in time for approval. It turns out that the 12-game homestand had fatigued Fresno’s favorite bear significantly, who has been in need of some power hibernation lately. Following Saturday night’s contest against Reno, Parker intended on getting some extra sleep to prepare for the final three games of the series. This plan backfired, as Parker slept straight through the trade deadline and did not get approval from the league in time.

When all was said and done, Parker figured he would have to deal with Dereks Franks for at least one more year. “Things will not always turn out the way you want to this time of year,” Parker explained through an interpreter. “Dereks Franks and I will continue to try to work through our personal vendettas against one another in order to put on a great show for our fans. We just want to move forward from here.” Time will only tell what the fallout will be from Parker’s antics. One thing that we can be sure of: it will be highly entertaining.

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