I Welcome Fresno to the Cal League

Dear Andrew Milios [Assistant General Manager; Fresno Grizzlies]:

As the sort of official Thirsty Thursday Ambassador of Minor League Baseball, I would like to take this time to welcome you to the California League. Unfortunately, this is a not a social call, but more of a wake up call. You are not in the Taxi League anymore; you are in the trenches. No prisoners are taken in the Cal League. It appears your organization is still working with a skeleton crew, probably because most of you staff has been conscripted by the merchant marines (A Cal League Euphemism for COVID furloughed). I know your organization is waiting for Bobby Manfred to give the green light to release the schedules, but that fan base is not going to cultivate itself. Soon, the hoards from Visalia will be clamoring to enter Chukchansi Park to steal your gold and flirt with your women.

Have no fear, a wizened minor league road warrior like myself is here to offer you assistance for your transition into the Cal League. First of all, you need a rebrand. It is time to shitcan the Grizzlies’ moniker. There are no California Grizzlies, Andrew, and you know why? Because Californians killed every damn last one of them.  Fresno, a pretty large city of 500,000+, is also located on a valley floor carpeted by alluvial plains. Bears do not make their homes in fields of leafy plants intersected by highways clogged with overloaded agricultural trucks.

The Utah Jazz moved to Salt Lake City from New Orleans. The Los Angeles Lakers moved from Minnesota, which is known for its lakes. The Grizzlies moved from nowhere. Once upon a time, California was known as the Bear Flag Republic when it broke away from Mexico. Bears are very important symbols in California history and culture even to this day. The original owners of the Grizzlies took a break from saddling the city of Fresno with a burdensome stadium deal and decided, “We can’t be the Cruciferous Veggies or the Mighty Arugulas! We need to have something that sounds tough — like bears! But wait, many California colleges have variations of bears as their mascots! Let’s be the Grizzlies because that sounds bad ass!”

I will leave it you your organization to use its creative prowess to come up with something better than an extinct animal, but you need to put that Parker T. Bear mascot of yours down quickly. While mange might not be contagious, his look is that of juvenile delinquents running the mean streets of Chino after they dumped peroxide on their heads to go for that surfer boy look. I would strongly suggest a phallic vegetable fruit type that looks good in a bandolier. Or maybe Ninja Raisins with really sharp swords that scare the hell out of little kids during mascot races.

You should also remember your organization is the new kid on the block in the California League, and has been dumped more times than Taylor Swift. None of the five Major League teams want you, despite that great bar in left field. Know your place, Noob. Had Lancaster not caught its scoreboard on fire so many times with fireworks in the high winds, you could very well be in the Pecos League doing the Monterey Shuffle. Be grateful you are here, and start selling some tickets. And lean into the positive: Fresno is the largest city ever in a Low A league. Think of the marketing possibilities, especially is you combine that with “Fresno: we are close to National Parks, but the furthest thing from a National Park.

There is another thing you should know: The California League is a burrito league, and you are a taco truck town — glorious, glorious taco trucks, but inferior food products just the same. While there is plenty of room for both burritos and tacos in this world, “Mojitos After Burritos” will ways trump “Tacos Before Vatos”. I speak with the authority of a Celebrity Judge of many a burrito tasting contest. Burritos and tacos can always get along, but there is a pecking order.

As you will soon learn, I am a giver. It is just my nature to reach out and help. Here is a great promotion your organization can implement:

Hooked on Phonics… and Cocaine. This community outreach promotion is sure to win a Golden Bobblehead as it assists both young readers and the drug fiends. Word fun and rehab! Phonemes and psychotherapeutics! Oliver the Ornament and Shakey Davey!

Anyway, I have a  baseball  stadium in Boise I need to finance. Talk to you soon.

Your friend in baseball,


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