After operating most of this week under a cloud for a Memorial Day miscue that put the team in national headlines, the Fresno Grizzlies (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) drew 12,962 last night at Chukchansi Park.
It was the largest crowd of the season for the Grizzlies, and the third five-digit crowd at Chukchansi Park in 2019.
The game didn’t go the Grizzlies’ way–the Salt Lake Bees triumphed by a 13-1 margin–but the big crowd certainly was good news. As you’ll recall, the Grizzlies made national news after the team ran a Memorial Day video calling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez an enemy of freedom.
The video, which you can see here, ran between games of a Memorial Day doubleheader and begins as a standard Memorial Day tribute to the troops and patriotism, but then veers off into a montage of “enemies of freedom” that includes New York Democrat Ocasio-Cortez, Trump protestors, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and former Cuban president Fidel Castro. The team immediately apologized for the video and followed up with a second apology.
If last night’s crowd is any indication, the apologies worked. The team did lose two high-profile sponsored after the video ran, but other big sponsors said they are not cutting ties with the Grizzlies, saying they are satisfied with the apology and an explanation that the airing video was an innocent mistake and not at all a political statement. Similarly, officials with parent team Washington Nationals say they’re satisfied with the apology and explanation.