In wake of video de­ba­cle, Griz­zlies draw the sea­son’s big­gest crowd

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY CRESENCIO RO­DRIGUEZ-DEL­GADO cdel­[email protected]­

Al­though the Fresno Griz­zlies lost two ma­jor spon­sors this week over an in­flam­ma­tory video show­ing an image of Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, a sea­son record crowd turned out to their Fri­day night game.

The Griz­zlies faced the Salt Lake Bees at home, but ended up los­ing 1-13.

The of­fi­cial head count re­leased by the team was 12,962 — the largest crowd a Griz­zlies game has got­ten ei­ther at home or away in the 2019 sea­son. Pre­vi­ous high at­ten­dance was 11,937 on May 17 and 10,047 on April 6.

The video, shown at the Memo­rial Day game, was edited to show a photo of Oca­sio-Cortez dur­ing a voice-over of the late Ron­ald Rea­gan speak­ing about “ene­mies of free­dom.”

Other im­ages in­cluded in the photo mon­tage in­cluded An­tifa, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the late Cuban leader Fidel Cas­tro. Griz­zlies of­fi­cials have said the video was pulled off YouTube for the show­ing and was not prop­erly re­viewed be­fore­hand.

The show­ing of the video sparked out­rage among some fans and prompted a re­sponse from the con­gress­woman on Twit­ter the next day.

Sun­maid Grow­ers and Heineken In­ter­na­tional (through their Dos Equis and Te­cate brands) then dropped their sup­port for the Griz­zlies over the video.

But for the thou­sands of fans who did show up Fri­day night, it all didn’t seem to mat­ter. Or, the lure at Fri­day’s game may have been Star Wars Night as well as fire­works.

The team even wore Star Wars jerseys.

The space theme was sched­uled to con­tinue Satur­day night with NASA Night as the Griz­zlies were set to go against the Bees once again.

CRAIG KOHLRUSS ck­[email protected]­

Fire­works ex­plode above Chukchansi Park dur­ing the play­ing of the na­tional an­them on the Fresno Griz­zlies’ open­ing night on April 4.

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