Dagger! Nationals Sent Packing For Fresno After Losing Out On Nashville

That didn’t take long, now did it? Just 24 hours after the Las Vegas 51s kick-started the affiliation shuffle by signing a two-year player-development contract with the Oakland A’s, the Fresno Grizzlies brought the Triple-A portion to a close by inking a two-year deal with the last team standing: the Washington Nationals.

The short-lived shuffle featured plenty of twists and turns. Raise your hand if you thought the Rangers would end up in San Antonio after getting boot-scooted out of Round Rock. Me too. But no, the Missions opted to stick with the Brewers, who had been the affiliate of Colorado Springs, whose spot San Antonio is taking the Pacific Coast League.

I certainly thought that the Nationals would pull out every trick in the PDC book to sign with a team in the East, presumably Nashville. But the Rangers beat them to it, signing a four-year PDC with the Sounds. Now, after spending their entire history in the International League, the Nationals are packing for Fresno—a mere 2,800 miles from Nationals Park.

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How To Market Like The Fresno Grizzlies: A Chat With Sam Hansen

Sam Hansen is the creative brain behind the Fresno Grizzlies’ many unique and trendsetting promotions. As the Grizzlies’ director of marketing, Hansen has developed promotions ranging from the celebration of pop-culture hit movies like “Good Burger” and “Coming to America,” to creating the popular local Taco Truck Throwdown, to converting the team’s furry mascot Parker into an ordained minister.

Sam Hansen
Fresno Grizzlies Director of Marketing Sam Hansen shows off a “nunchuck churro” from a recent promotion.

What follows is the second part of my conversation with Hansen about how the team comes up with so many popular promotions and how he got involved in minor league baseball. Part One of our conversation can be found here. The transcript has been edited in spots for length and clarity.

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Behind The Scenes With Fresno Grizzlies Marketing Wiz Sam Hansen

Sam Hansen
Fresno Grizzlies Director of Marketing Sam Hansen shows off a “nunchuck churro” from the team’s recent “Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris” promotion.

The Fresno Grizzlies rank among minor league baseball’s most creative and trend-setting teams. The fad of teams transforming their names into a favorite concession item? That began with the Fresno Tacos, which grew out of the team’s often-replicated Taco Truck Throwdown promotion.

Sam Hansen is the person behind the concept and creation of these promotions and a long list of others that has helped the Grizzlies make local and national headlines each season. As the Grizzlies’ director of marketing, Hansen has developed promotions ranging from the celebration of pop-culture hit movies like “Good Burger” and “Coming to America” to converting the team’s furry mascot Parker into an ordained minister.

What follows is Part One of my conversation with Hansen about the art of minor league promotions, how Fresno has turned into one of the premier marketing franchises in professional sports and how he got his start. Part Two of our conversation will follow in this space next week. The transcript has been edited in spots for length and clarity.

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