It's year 'two' of a lease agreement between the Fresno Grizzlies and the city, and a recent audit shows the deal likely won't produce a financial profit this year. But both sides are still optimistic.

Triple-A baseball fans arrived early to the first midweek day game of the new 2011 season. The Fresno Grizzlies took on the Tacoma Rainers with a small but very vocal group of eager of fans.

Chris Cummings, the team's owner, says a severely trimmed budget in the overall operation along with increased season ticket and sponsorship sales will help change the Grizzlies bottom line from a loss to a win. "Those changes take time to happen but they will bear out in 2011."

Fresno's amended lease agreement with the team lowered its annual payments. And when there is no profit the team doesn't trigger its profit-sharing agreement. And that has been the case for the past two years. Deputy City Manager Nicole Zieba told us the city isn't concerned. "We didn't expect profit sharing to kick in this year, maybe not even next year due to the state of the economy, the Grizzlies have met every term in the lease, every commitment in the lease. There was a loss in their revenue this year, we fully expected that."

Cummings meantime says the re-organized operation is on track to break even this year and make a profit the next. "We have the right team in place, led my me, to make sure this team improves in performance and next year if we're not in the black we're gonna be awfully close to it."

Both the city and the Grizzlies management seem to agree that each is holding up their end of the bargain and both are looking to a better year and the end of the recession.

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fresno grizzlies, sports, nancy osborne
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