SAUGET, Illinois – FL All-Star, team MVP and Grizzlies vet is back for another season.
Brown, a staple of the Gateway squad since 2015, was drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Atlanta Braves. The slugger posted a 3-year stay with the affiliated organization before signing with the Sauget club.
"Getting Blake back for another year is huge for us," commented Manager Phil Warren. "He is the unquestioned leader of our team and has been one of the best players in the league since he arrived."
In three years with the Grizzlies, Brown has tallied 48 HR, 35 2B, 165 RBI and a .265 average. 2017 saw Blake finish Frontier League play tied for 3rd in HR (18) and 3rd in RBI (69). His three-year .472 SLG percentage ranked him in the top ten in the Frontier League over that stretch.
"I enjoy my role on the team and am excited to improve every day," said Brown on returning for the 2018 season. "I will be applying every experience and lesson I have learned over my career to helping us win."
Though Brown has experienced personal success, the Grizzlies have fallen on a five-year playoff drought – fueling the 6'1, 215 lb. outfielder's 2018 efforts.
"The playoffs are why I am coming back," stated Brown. "I'm looking forward to this next season with all of the young talent we have returning. We will make a run."
Gateway, who finished with a 32-64 2016 record, will return seven starters from last year's club with four of those members listed at experienced status. Brown, who missed much of 2016 battling injuries, joins fellow outfielder Cody Livesay as the longest standing vet for Gateway.
"2018 is a chance for us to showcase our work, on and off the diamond," affirmed Warren. "We are putting together a roster that is loaded with talent and experience – and Blake is the cornerstone of that."
Brown, a Bloomington, Illinois native played his collegiate career at nearby Missouri University, garnering an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Selection in his first year as a Tiger starter.
The Grizzlies' 24-man roster is now at 18. Frontier League spring training rules allow for 32 roster spots before season play.
The Grizzlies will open 2018 on Friday, May 11 against the Schaumburg Boomers. Promotional calendar will be available February 1. Season tickets are on sale now. Single game tickets go on sale April 2. For more information call 618.337.3000 or visit gatewaygrizzlies.com.
ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find - affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 12 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.