A recent media release from the Grizzlies:
GRIZZLIES TO HOLD FREE OPEN PRACTICE FOR FANS
2008-09 TIP-OFF PARTY TO BE HELD IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING AT FEDEXFORUM ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4
The Memphis Grizzlies are opening their doors again for their annual free Open Practice, and this year fans are invited to stick around after practice for a tip-off party to the 2008-09 season on Saturday, October 4 at FedExForum.
Fans attending the practice will get the chance to see O.J. Mayo, fellow 2008 draftee Darrell Arthur and Olympic hero Marc Gasol on the floor of FedExForum for the first time, along with Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and the rest of the 2008-09 Grizzlies squad. Grizzlies Head Coach Marc Iavaroni will run players through multiple drills and scrimmages that fans can watch as they prepare for the 2008-09 season.
After the official practice, the Grizzlies are inviting fans to a party to tip off the 2008-09 season, which will be held at FedExForum immediately following the Open Practice. Fans will be able to get autographs, take photos and ask questions of their favorite Grizzlies players, coaches and front office members. The fun doesn’t stop there though, as fans in attendance will also have the chance to shoot free-throws on FedExForum’s floor, meet the Grizz Girls, enjoy inflatable games, face painters, balloon artists and much more.
Doors for the Open Practice open at 10:30 a.m., with the practice beginning at 11:30 a.m. There will be free parking available in the Ford Parking Garage at FedExForum for the event.
What isn't mentioned here is the decision to no longer have a "State of the Franchise" meeting for season ticket holders prior to the open practice. Originally I was only told "they're just not doing one this year."
However, last night Chris Wallace called me at home to talk about a different question, and he explained that Michael Heisley was not expected to be available on Oct. 4. Honestly, there really wouldn't be a reason to do a State of the Franchise if Michael Heisley wasn't there.
I love the open practice. I think it is great that the team is having a party after the practice so people can get caught up in the excitement of the team and the players and what is happening here. It is a bit upsetting, however, that the people who have paid a lot of money for the right to attend every one of the games aren't going to get the pep talk like they have in years past.
And yes, the State of the Franchise meeting was simply a pep talk. They weren't going to open the books, discuss the mechanics of making the trades involving Pau Gasol and OJ Mayo, or even what enticements they used to get Hamed Haddadi or Marc Gasol to sign with the team.
In other words, like the State of the Union, the State of the Franchise meeting was more of a way to rally the faithful to the cause as much as anything else, but isn't that needed right now?