While the Cardinals and the rest of Major League Baseball have been at it for over a month, the Gateway Grizzlies and the Frontier League fans are just now starting to think about Opening Day.
The Grizzlies are coming off another season in which they got off to a sizzling start, hosted the All-Star Game and festivities, and then fizzled down the stretch to miss the playoffs.
The good news, though, is that a disappointing finish didn’t hurt the ticket sales. The Grizzlies were second in the Frontier League in attendance, behind only the Shaumburg Boomers. On average, the Boomers only got an extra 11 people through the gate each game. Leave it to two baseball mad markets, Northern Illinois and the St. Louis metro area, to lead the attendance standings.
Friday, May 15th is when things all get started for Gateway against the Rockford Aviators at GCS Ballpark. Not only will MLB hit king Pete Rose be attending the game, he will be coaching first and third base throughout the evening for the Grizzlies. After the game, a large fireworks display can be seen over the center field wall.
Fans who attended games last year will notice a much different team this year under manager Phil Warren. The core from last year is coming back in tact, but many of the players who will dress for the team are newcomers to Sauget, so be sure to find a program on your first trip the stadium.
Another change coming to the Grizzlies is how fans can listen to them. No longer will the games be broadcast on the radio airwaves; rather, all the games will be streamed online from 101ESPN.com and 101ESPN’s mobile app. A select number of games will be broadcast on 101.1 FM airwaves. Sam Levitt returns for his first full season behind the mic and will call all Grizzlie games.
“101 ESPN is one of the top sports stations in St. Louis, which makes it a great fit for us,” said Steve Gomric, the Grizzlies’ general manager. “We have a very talented broadcaster in Sam Levitt and I know he will bring his ‘A’ game every broadcast.”
Look back to Arch City Sports weekly for updates and information on the Gateway Grizzlies. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @cjschoe.