By Lauren Jennings |Sports Editor|
It has been 25 years since the city of Rancho Cucamonga welcomed the Quakes, a Minor League Baseball team, with open arms. The team is still going strong, offering a large round-up of promotions, theme nights and giveaways to celebrate their silver anniversary.
“When we start talking about celebrating 25 years, I think the reaction we’ve gotten across the board is somewhere between shocked and astonished, which I think is for two reasons,” said Grant Riddle, Quakes Vice President and General Manager. “I think it is, hopefully, because the time flies when you’re having a good time and it’s certainly because we have such a beautiful facility.”
The Quakes got their start in Rancho Cucamonga in 1993, but their roots trace back to 1966 when the team played in Lodi, Calif. Since then, they have played in Ventura and right here in San Bernardino.
In 1987, the franchise began playing at Fiscalini Field, which is now home to the CSUSB baseball team, playing there through the 1992 season. While playing at Fiscalini, the team was known as the San Bernardino Spirit.
On Nov. 14, 1991, ground broke for the new stadium in Rancho, which would come to be known as the Epicenter.
In September of 1992, fans were asked to choose a name for the team and 200+ entries later, the Quakes were born.
Their first game, played on April 8, 1993, was a 7-3 victory over the now defunct High Desert Mavericks.
The very next year, the Quakes won their first California League Championship.
After shattering attendance records in their first four seasons, the Quakes welcomed their 2 millionth fan to the stadium in 1997.
“We’ve had 6.5 million people visit our stadium or come to our city to experience the Quakes,” mentioned Riddle.
In 2001, the Quakes signed on to be the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, after being a San Diego Padres affiliate since 1993.
After 10 years with the Angels, the Quakes switched affiliations in 2011, becoming a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate.
The 2013 season brought a name change to the Epicenter as LoanMart and the Quakes merged for a ten-year partnership that renamed the stadium LoanMart Field.
In 2015, the Quakes snapped a 21 year-long championship drought, sweeping the San Jose Giants in three games.
On April 5, the city of Rancho Cucamonga opened up their City Council meeting by introducing a proclamation of celebration for the Quakes starting season number 25.
“They [Quakes] have certainly helped put Rancho Cucamonga on the map,” said L. Dennis Michael, the Mayor of Rancho Cucamonga.
With the aid of multiple Major League rehabbers, popular bobblehead giveaways and weekly promotions, the Quakes have continued to draw new and returning fans to Rancho Cucamonga every year.
“We are going to have six celebration nights throughout the season,” announced Riddle. “We’re going to wear a tip of the cap to our old pinstripe uniforms and we’re going to be raffling those off throughout the season with the proceeds going to our sponsor of the event, which is Loma Linda Children’s Hospital.”
In addition to the celebration nights, the Quakes will also offer up five bobblehead nights, a magnet schedule giveaway, a replica pinstripe jersey, a Quakes hat, a team photo and a set of 2017 Quakes baseball cards.
Along with giveaways to celebrate the season, the Quakes will be recognizing employees and ticket holders.
“We actually have a staff member that has been here 25 years, Linda [Rathfon, Assistant GM/Group Sales] has been here 24, and we have almost 20 season ticket holders that have been with us since the very beginning and we’ll be recognizing those folks,” said Riddle.
The Quakes will also be honoring scouts on Scout Night, members of the military with Military Appreciation Night and students with Back to School Night.
“We’re thrilled to have them [the fans] come back out and celebrate with us,” said Riddle.
The Quakes will continue to offer their fan favorite weekly promotions. Mondays are for Social Media Monday, Tuesdays are for Recycle Tuesdays, Wednesdays are Bark in the Park, Thursdays are Thirsty Thursdays, Fridays offer $1 Family Feast Night or a giveaway, Saturdays feature fireworks and Sundays are highlighted by Kids Eat Free Sunrun Sunday. More information on these promos can be found on the Quakes Website.
“The city council and the city of Rancho Cucamonga wish to recognize and support Rancho Cucamonga Quakes baseball and the great family entertainment it has brought to our city by celebrating their 25th anniversary season,” concluded Michael.
The Quakes 25th season celebration will last through September, so pick a game and come celebrate with the city of Rancho Cucamonga.