Talkin’ baseball

Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out with the vaccine-segregated crowd.

Buy me some peanuts with your debit card,

I didn’t think buying tickets would be so hard,

Let me root, root, root for the Bisons Blue Jays,

If they don’t win it’s a shame.

For its one, two,

Three dingers out of the park

At the old ball game.

Ahh!  Major League Baseball in downtown Buffalo!

I became a baseball fan long ago.  My dad and I took in Bisons’ games at Offermann Stadium, War Memorial Stadium, Sal Maglie Stadium in Niagara Falls, back to War Memorial Stadium, and then Pilot Field – which later morphed into the Downtown Ballpark, North Americare Park, Dunn Tire Park, Coca-Cola Field and Sahlen Field.  Our choice of seats changed based on the park, but the atmosphere was pretty much the same over the years.

Along the way players who were never stars, older stars, and stars-to-be have appeared on the rosters of the Bisons and their opponents.  Minor league baseball is like that.  For every Johnny Bench and Vlad Guerrero, Jr. who has passed through Buffalo on the way to a great major league career there have been a whole lot more journeyman players like Bobby Morgan and Marv Thorneberry.  As long as the games are at a reasonably competitive level, watching a minor league game is still entertaining.

And now, for the second year in a row, Major League Baseball is playing in Buffalo – this time with fans in the stands.  O-K, Blue Jays, let’s play ball!

I attended a Blue Jays/Yankees game last week.  I’ve never been a Yankees fan, which puts me in the minority in Western New York, but the chance to see the Bronx Bombers at Washington and Swan Streets was too hard to resist.  I’ve been to many MLB games in many different cities, but those baseball parks are large, sightlines are not always the greatest (have you ever sat in the upper deck at the Rogers Centre in Toronto?), and there is usually a different version of fandom in attendance.  A MLB game in Buffalo feels almost like sitting on your porch or patio at home.

The Blue Jays lost the game that I saw.  Baseball’s great young Phenom, Vlad Guerrero Jr., didn’t have a good game but his hitting record this year has been stunning.  The best is yet to come.

The Blue Jays have been great about lending their team to Buffalo and we know that the fantasy will be over later this summer or next year for sure.  But in the meantime attending a Blue Jays game in Buffalo is fun – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  If you are a baseball fan and you get the chance to attend a game this summer, by all means go.

There is one thing, though, that was a little bothersome about the Blue Jays in Buffalo summer.  I would not make too much of it, but nonetheless it was strange.

From attending Jays’ game in Toronto in years past I have been on the Blue Jays email list for a long time.  Last month there came a strange proposition.

The team is raffling off “Souvenirs from Buffalo” to its fans.  Unless you live in Canada (but not Quebec), however, you cannot enter the contest.

Here is an abbreviated version of the rules:

Contest consists of four individual entry periods, as follows: (i) the first entry period… opens… on June 1, 2021; (ii) the second entry period … opens… on July 1, 2021; (iii) the third entry period… opens… on August 1, 2021; and (iv) the fourth entry period… opens… on September 1, 2021 and closes… on September 30, 2021. Open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec, who are of age of legal majority. Twenty (20) prizes to be won (five (5) per entry period), each consisting of one (1) of the following (selected by the contest sponsor in its sole discretion): game-used baseball (ERV: $75) or vial of dirt (ERV: $25). Random draws to be conducted on July 2, August 3, September 1 and October 1… 

This, of course, raises some questions, such as (1) does this mean the Blue Jays will be in Buffalo through September?; (2) who knew a vial of Buffalo dirt is worth $25; and (3) isn’t Quebec a part of Canada?

What about the Bisons

I understand the reasoning for shifting the Bisons to New Jersey for 2021.  They will be back in 2022 but it would be nice if they would at least write or call once in a while.

The problem, actually, is with the Buffalo News.  The paper’s sports section overflows with Bills and Sabres stories plus lots of other news of note from local college and high school teams.

But don’t go looking for a story about how the Bisons did last night (or more correctly, given the paper’s early shutdown each evening), the game two days ago.  The Bisons’ standing in the new Triple-A East league they are playing in appears only occasionally.  There are no box scores to tell fans how the team’s players are doing.  The News seems faithful about including the standings of MLS (Major League Soccer) pretty much every day and what the betting odds are for various sports teams, but whether the Bisons played two nights ago, what the score was, where the team is in the standings, or how the team’s hitters and pitchers are doing is anybody’s guess if you depend on such information from your hometown newspaper.  Why?

Channel 2 on Primary Night

I will be offering some commentary about the primary election results on Channel 2.  Hope you can tune in.

Follow me on Twitter @kenkruly