The Fresno Grizzlies are at it again. Check that. The Fresno Tacos are it again.
The organization that brought you Taco Tuesday, Taco Truck Throwdowns, weddings officiated by a mascot and, most recently, zarape-themed hats and jerseys, pulled another trick from its colorful sleeve on Wednesday with its unveiling of several new apparel options.
In addition to the regular Taco-themed gear available for purchase, fans can now support both the Grizzlies and their favorite kind of taco at the same time.
Want to tell the world you’re an al pastor-type of fan? There’s a hat for that. Carne asada more your style? Buy the shirt and display it on your chest. Are you on Team carnitas? You can rep the slow-smoked pork filling on a shot glass or pennant.
In addition, the team has unveiled a new Taco-based website with “Why Tacos?” and “Buy Tacos” sections. The latter is self-explanatory: A link to all of the team’s taco-based merchandise: Hats, pennants, tank tops, shirts, shot glasses, etc. It’s all available at that link.
The other part of the site briefly explains why the team, which is still officially named the Grizzlies, has embraced its alternate identity so aggressively.
Additionally, there’s a section of the site that allows you to vote for your favorite type of taco—carne asada, carnitas, lengua, or al pastor.
All of this coincides with the team’s sixth Taco Truck Throwdown of the year, to be held on Thursday, Aug. 18 at Chukchansi Park, during which one vendor will be crowned as the best taco truck in the Central Valley. At the same time, the team will also debut its new mascot, Cilantro Gomez, who will join Parker T. Bear as the park’s resident merrymakers.
The Grizzlies have an ambitious goal for their final Throwdown of the year: 40,000 tacos sold and devoured.
"Expanding the footprint of the event will allow more trucks to participate, so 40,000 tacos sold is a more than reasonable goal," Grizzlies general manager Derek Franks said. "40,000 is a nice round number, but I believe we'll reach a great deal more than that—people know to come hungry. We can't wait to see who our fans select as this year's champion."
After holding three Taco Tuesdays last season, the number jumped to 11 this season. There will be more in 2017. The new site teases that fact by telling the reader that the hat designs for next year have already begun.
The Grizzlies have made headlines without tacos this year, too. They brought Kel Mitchell, the co-star of the 1997 comedy “Good Burger,” to Fresno and wore Grizz Burger-themed jerseys.
Staying with the cinematic tributes, the Grizzlies donned “Three Amigos” jerseys last month to honor the Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short hit comedy.
Taco Tuesdays and all the fanfare that has followed, however, has unquestionably been Fresno’s biggest hit. Before the season, executives from around the minor leagues voted it the top promotion in Baseball America’s first Best of the Minors survey.
With its success this year, the Grizzlies will continue to embrace their taco side.