Sports

Fresno Grizzlies lose affiliation with Washington Nationals

The Fresno Grizzlies are once again on the search for a Major League Baseball affiliation. 

The Washington Nationals cut ties with the Fresno Triple-A team as they signed a new player development contract with the Rochester Red Wings in New York, just two seasons after bringing the Grizzlies on board. 

The Grizzlies released the following statement Thursday: 

“The Fresno Grizzlies would like to thank the Washington Nationals for their partnership over the past two years. Being affiliated with the Nationals during their first World Series Championship is something that all of Fresno can take pride in. We are honored to have been part of their run, along with the other four championships won by our affiliates in the past 10 seasons. There is no doubt that Fresno is a place ‘Where Champions are Grown,’ as it will continue to be for our next Major League partner. 

“As MLB and MiLB continue to discuss the future of player development, the Grizzlies are actively planning for our next season in Downtown Fresno.” 

Before the partnership with the Nationals started in 2019, the Grizzlies had been the AAA affiliate for the San Francisco Giants from 1998-2014 and the Houston Astros from 2015-2018. 

The loss of their Major League team comes at a tough time for the Grizzlies. The 2020 Minor League Baseball season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ABC 30 previously reported that the team had to furlough 75 percent of its staff in June. 

Minor League Baseball is also facing an uncertain future as a whole regardless of the pandemic, as MLB is reportedly exploring cutting the number of minor league teams down from 160 to 120. 

Some reports have even suggested that the Grizzlies will be demoted to a Class A team to play in the California league. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) broke the news on Twitter Thursday morning. 

“I’m proud I secured a commitment from the Nationals to ensure [a] new Major League affiliate for [the] Rochester Red Wings to keep [the] Red Wings ‘safe at home,’” Schumer wrote. “There’s no doubt [the] Red Wings will keep knocking it out of the park for fans throughout the Rochester Finger Lakes region.” 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.