Fresno Grizzlies

Following Ocasio-Cortez video debacle, Fresno Grizzlies draw season’s biggest crowd

A baseball team, patriotism, Ocasio-Cortez and an apology: Here’s what happened

The Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team played a Memorial Day video on its scoreboard May 27, 2019, and later apologized for equating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with Kim Jung-un and Fidel Castro.
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The Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team played a Memorial Day video on its scoreboard May 27, 2019, and later apologized for equating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with Kim Jung-un and Fidel Castro.

Although the Fresno Grizzlies lost two major sponsors this week over an inflammatory video showing an image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a season record crowd turned out to their Friday night game.

The Grizzlies faced the Salt Lake Bees at home, but ended up losing 1-13.

The official head count released by the team was 12,962 — the largest crowd a Grizzlies game has gotten either at home or away in the 2019 season. Previous high attendance was 11,937 on May 17 and 10,047 on April 6.

The video, shown at the Memorial Day game, was edited to show a photo of Ocasio-Cortez during a voice-over of the late Ronald Regan speaking about “enemies of freedom.”

Other images included in the photo montage included Antifa, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Grizzlies officials have said the video was pulled off YouTube for the showing and was not properly reviewed beforehand.

The showing of the video sparked outrage among some fans and prompted a response from the congresswoman on Twitter the next day.

Sunmaid Growers and Heineken International (through their Dos Equis and Tecate brands) then dropped their support for the Grizzlies over the video.

But for the thousands of fans who did show up Friday night, it all didn’t seem to matter. Or, the lure at Friday’s game may have been Star Wars Night as well as fireworks.

The team even wore Star Wars jerseys.

The space theme was scheduled to continue Saturday night with NASA Night as the Grizzlies were set to go against the Bees once again.

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Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a general assignment reporter at The Fresno Bee. He grew up in Porterville and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Fresno State. He is a former student editor at the Fresno State and Fresno City College newspapers. His hobbies include reading, sleeping, running and taking care of his dog.

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