December 1, 2017 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Fresno Grizzlies
FRESNO, Calif. - For the first time in franchise history, the Fresno Grizzlies have been chosen as the Bob Freitas Award winner by national industry publication Baseball America. The honor recognizes the top overall operations in Minor League Baseball, as a recipient is selected at each level of MiLB. 2017 is the first year Fresno has been chosen for the award, and the third consecutive season a Pacific Coast League club has won the Triple-A award, as the Grizzlies join the Salt Lake Bees (2015) and Round Rock Express (2016).
First awarded in 1989, the Freitas Award is among the most prestigious in baseball for an organization, and recognizes overall excellence in all departments, from marketing and promotions, to baseball operations, to field management, and stadium operations and game day experience.
Notable promotions that once again landed the Fresno Grizzlies in the national press during 2017 included the "Fresno Tacos" alter-ego and Taco Truck Throwdown 7, the "Totally Krossed Out" backwards jerseys in tribute to hip-hop duo Kriss Kross on 90s Night, the second edition of "My Big Fat Fresno Wedding Show" featuring actual marriages by the fully-ordained mascot Parker T. Bear and "Classic Vinyl Night" featuring the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts jersey design and in-ballpark vinyl trade show. Groundbreaking bobbleheads including "Madison Bumgarner arm wrestling a grizzly bear" also drew plenty of eyeballs.
"When it comes to the overall effort of our operation, there really is no higher honor than the Freitas Award," said Fresno Grizzlies Executive Vice President and General Manager Derek Franks. "To be recognized as a place that strives to put on a great show every night at Chukchansi Park, but is also respected in professional baseball on meeting the challenges and rigors of the long Pacific Coast League season is a testament to a hard-working staff. We're thrilled to be recognized in this way, and need to thank both Baseball America and our great peers in Triple-A, who are all deserving. Congratulations as well to all Freitas winners at all MiLB classifications this year."
Please see the attached presentation recapping the Fresno Grizzlies' 2017 season from an operations and promotions standpoint. The Freitas Award for the organization also comes a week after the Grizzlies were honored with the Ballpark Digest "Promotion of the Year" Award for a second consecutive autumn.