Derek Franks speaks during a news conference in February to introduce the team's new Major League Baseball Affiliate, the Colorado Rockies. Screenshot via the Grizzlies
Written by Edward Smith
The Fresno Grizzlies got the green light to host a limited number of fans in the stands for their home opener May 11. And while opening night and weekend games may be limited to season ticket holders, the team is readying two different game plans should Fresno County move into the orange tier.
The Grizzlies announced they had reached an agreement with the Fresno County Department of Public Health to open safely for the 2021 season. The home opener will be against the Visalia Rawhide.
The current plan allows for 20% of capacity, which is approximately 2,100 people, said Derek Franks, president of the Fresno Grizzlies, in a Zoom meeting Tuesday with the Business Journal and other representatives of Central Valley sports franchises.
That number roughly represents the number of season ticket holders, many of whom carried over their tickets from the 2020 season.
Franks said while Fresno County is still in the red tier, seats for weekend games and the home opener may be limited to seats that season ticket holders exchange for other games later in the season. Single-game tickets will have to be purchased ahead of time and cannot be purchased at the window at the time of the game, the press release stated. Only tickets for May are currently available.
At the same time, Franks said the team is operating with two different game plans. Should Fresno County move into the orange tier, capacity may be increased to 33%.
“Being able to pivot is the name of the game,” Franks said.
There will be guidelines for attendees. Groups of fans will be physically distanced from other groups. There will be buffer zones around the field for safety of ball players. Masks or face coverings will be required as per mandates from MLB and the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
Tickets will be digital and concourse flow will be streamlined. There will be enhanced sanitation at Chukchansi Park, including 150 motion-activated hand sanitizer stations.
There will be limited concessions available to fans as well. They are permitted to have food trucks, said Franks. Other teams have implemented apps that allow attendees to order from their phones and pick up food from a designated spot in the stadium.
The Visalia Rawhide home opener will be May 4. Because Tulare County is in the orange tier, they are permitted up to 33%.