The Fresno Grizzlies are set for arguably one of the more memorable giveaway nights in the Triple-A franchise’s nearly 20-year history.
And there might not be a need for fans to line up overnight to ensure they get their prize, though some still might choose to camp out.
The Grizzlies will hand out replica 2015 Triple-A national championship rings to the first 10,000 fans through the Chukchansi Park gates Saturday.
10,000 Replica 2015 Triple-A national championship rings to be given away Saturday night at Chukchansi Park
“After 17 years of minor-league baseball in Fresno, then taking the national championship, we wanted everybody who comes to the ballpark that night to have a good chance to get a ring,” general manager Derek Franks said. “It’s a chance for many of them to have a piece of Fresno history.”
During past seasons, bobbleheads and other promotional items often were limited to the first 2,000 to 5,000 fans. But the downtown ballpark has a seating capacity of 12,500, prompting die-hards – some traveling as long as six hours – to line up overnight to ensure they would receive the limited memorabilia.
But while the increased number of replica rings available should lessen the need for a long wait, there could be just as much drama and excitement. The Grizzlies have randomly placed vouchers in 15 of the boxes that guarantee those lucky fans an authentic silver championship ring similar to what the Grizzlies players and coaching staff received.
Those 15 also will be celebrated on the field in a championship-style ceremony.
It’s kind of like finding the golden ticket in Willy Wonka. Fans can walk away with a great replica of Fresno history – maybe even get the real deal.
Grizzlies general manager Derek Franks
“It’s kind of like finding the golden ticket in Willy Wonka,” Franks said. “This was a historic achievement for the Fresno team. Fans can walk away with a great replica of Fresno history – maybe even get the real deal.”
The Grizzlies, who have become an industry leader in promotions the past couple of years, came up with the authentic ring idea after speaking with several ballclubs that have won championships in the past.
Franks, in particular, asked fellow general managers and team presidents what title-themed ideas worked best, as well as ideas that were discarded. Fresno fans have received replica rings marking San Francisco Giants’ World Series titles, but this time it’s the Grizzlies’ success that’s being celebrated.
“We’d never won before last year,” Franks said. “I wanted to know as much as I could how to maximize the promotion.”
The Grizzlies are expecting close to a sellout crowd for Saturday’s game between the Grizzlies and El Paso Chihuahuas. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
Gates for season ticket holders open at 5:05 p.m. General admission gates open at 5:35 p.m.
Championship ring giveaway
EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS AT FRESNO GRIZZLIES
- Promotional giveaways: First 10,000 receive replica 2015 championships rings; 15 random fans will receive authentic championship rings
- Gates open: 5:05 p.m. for season ticket holders; 5:35 p.m. for general admission
- First pitch: 7:05 p.m.