Former St. Louis Cardinal Willie McGee will visit the Gateway Grizzlies on Friday to kick off the opening night of the 2016 season. Opening night will feature a GCS Credit Union Magnet Schedule giveaway and the game will be followed by a fireworks show.
The Grizzlies will play the Washington Wild Things in a three-game series at GCS Ballpark.
Big things are planned all weekend long for faithful Grizzlies fans.
On Saturday, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Gateway Grizzlies scroll pen presented by Quantum Vision. Saturday is also the annual Steamfitters night at GCS Ballpark as well as the Let Me Run 5k.
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First pitch on Sunday is set for 3:05 p.m. in the final game of the opening series for the Grizzlies in the friendly confines of GCS Ballpark. The American Heart Association will be taking over the ballpark on Sunday and after the game, all children in attendance can run the bases.
The Grizzlies return to the field with high expectations after a strong finish in 2015. The team finished with by winning 15 of 18 games, including a six-game win streak to complete the season. Gateway posted a 19-11 mark in August and September.
In his 10th season with the Grizzlies, veteran manager Phil Warren brings back a plethora of familiar faces from a year ago. As of May 10, exactly half of the 2016 roster is comprised of players who finished the 2015 campaign with Gateway.
On the mound, right-handed Trevor Richards returns for his sophomore professional season after a terrific rookie year that saw him earn a 3.36 ERA in 14 starts. The Grizzlies also return starting pitchers Vince Molesky and Dakota Smith, both of whom had solid rookie seasons.
Some big bats are also back at GCS Ballpark. Blake Brown was re-signed after being one of the top power hitters in the Frontier League this season with 22 homers. Ben Waldrip returns for his third year in a Grizzlies’ uniform after hitting for a career-high .289 batting average in 2015. He also led the team with 65 RBI.
The Grizzlies will have speedster Cody Livesay back in the leadoff spot after he batted .308 in 71 games during last season. Craig Massoni returns after hitting seven homers and collecting 18 RBI in just 36 games with Gateway in 2015.