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Bisons 2018 Home Opener, New Mascot Race Competitor Announced!

Yesterday the Bisons played the 31st Home Opener in Coca-Cola field history. 11,352 hardy souls braved game-time temperatures that hovered in the low 50’s with wind which made it feel colder. Coats and hats were most definitely required yesterday as the Herd took on the Indianapolis Indians in what will be the Indians’ only visit to Buffalo this season. Mayor Byron Brown was in attendance to mark the opening of the 135th consecutive year of the International League, Baseball’s Oldest Minor League. Buffalo has not continuously had a team competing in the International League for all of that time, but professional baseball has been played in Buffalo for most of those 135 years with a small gap from the mid 70’s to the late 80’s. The Indians are the AAA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This year the Bisons feature a somewhat interesting mix of prospects, veteran free agents and returning names. Fans will remember guys from last year like Jason Leblebijian, Rowdy Tellez, Roemon Fields, and Dwight Smith, Jr. Blue Jays top catching prospect Danny Jansen, who last year made it to the AAA Bisons after starting the year at Dunedin in high class A, is a player to watch. He is only 22 and has Big League talent written all over him. The Bisons pitching staff is mostly made up of AAA journeymen who should provide a solid veteran presence, but there are no names that jump out at you. Another player to watch who has a lot of Major League experience is Danny Espinosa. He signed a free agent deal with the Blue Jays this year but if you want to see him play, catch him soon because he will be making his way up to Toronto shortly. He’s way too good of a hitter to be down in AAA.

Here is the Bisons 2018 Roster.

Pitchers

Name Bat/Throw Age 2017 Club(s) Acquired/Draft Year
Al Albequerque R/R 30 Chicago (AL)/Kansas City/Omaha (AAA) FA
Joe Biagini R/R 27 Toronto/Buffalo FA
Ryan Borucki L/L 24 Bisons/New Hampshire (AA)/Dunedin (A) Prospect (2012)
Matt Dermody L/L 27 Toronto/Bisons Prospect (2013)
Sam Goviglio R/R 27 Seattle/Kansas City/Tacoma (AAA) Trade
Chad Girodo L/L 27 Bisons/Dunedin (A) Prospect (2013)
Taylor Guerrieri R/R 25 Durham Waivers (Tampa Bay)
Deck McGuire R/R 28 Cincinnati/Pensacola (AA) FA
Sam Moll L/L 26 Oakland/Nashville(AAA)/Albuquerque(AAA) Waivers (Seattle)
Carlos Ramirez R/R 26 Toronto/Bisons/New Hampshire (AA) FA
Chris Rowley R/R 27 Toronto/Bisons/New Hampshire (AA) FA
Luis Santos R/R 27 Toronto/Bisons/New Hampshire (AA) FA
Murphy Smith R/R 29 Bisons/New Hampshire (AA) FA

 

Catchers

Name Bat/Throw Age 2017 Club(s) Acquired/Draft Year
Danny Jansen R/R 22 Bisons/New Hampshire (AA)/Dunedin(A) Prospect (2013)
Reese Mcguire L/R 23 New Hampshire (AA)/Dunedin (A)/GCL Blue Jays Trade (Pittsburgh)

 

Infielders

Name Bat/Throw Age 2017 Club(s) Acquired/Draft Year
Jon Berti R/R 28 Bisons/Dunedin(A) Prospect (2011)
Danny Espinosa S/R 30 Los Angeles(AL)/Seattle/Tampa Bay FA
Jason Leblebijan R/R 26 Bisons Prospect (2012)
Tim Lopes R/R 23 New Hampshire (AA) Trade (Seattle)
Darnell Sweeney S/R 27 Oklahoma (AAA)/Lehigh Valley(AAA) FA
Rowdy Tellez L/L 23 Bisons Prospect (2103)

Outfielders

Name Bat/Throw Age 2017 Club(s) Acquired/Draft Year
Roemon Fields L/L 27 Bisons/New Hampshire (AA FA
Teoscar Hernandez R/R 25 Toronto/Bisons/ Fresno (AAA) Trade (Houston)
Ian Parmley L/L 28 Toronto/Bisons Prospect (2011)
Dwight Smith Jr L/R 25 Toronto/Bisons Prospect (2011)

The big story going into the Home Season Opener for the Herd was “Who/What will be replacing Celery in the Mascot race?” It was the question on everyone’s mind in the stands and in the Press Box with wild theories abounding. Some people saw ‘hints’ on Twitter from Celery saying that the new mascot was going to “wipe away” the competition and some of the early money was on ‘Wet Nap’ as the new character. Others absurdly believed it would be Ranch Dressing. During each half inning leading up to the Fourth, the Bisons ran teaser videos on the center field big board dropping hints as to the identity of the new mascot. I made my initial pick of Beef on Weck at 2:39 PM in the third inning. Then, at 2:59 PM, with the rain drops falling, Celery made her way to the field for the momentous introduction…..and the new Buffalo Mascot Race mascot is…. CARROT!!!, a vegetable you can ‘root’ for. This earth shaking news was delivered just in time as a rain delay was announced just after at 3:12 PM.

After a 1:39 minute rain delay, the game resumed in the top of the fifth inning. The Bisons retired the side and then in the middle of the fifth we all got to see the moment we had been waiting for- the first Mascot Race of 2018 and Carrot’s debut as a competitor. Excitement was high as the racers took their marks in center field. And they were off, heading for the right field corner and the turn for home. Then, out of nowhere, Beef on Weck appeared holding a bucket of horseradish and threw horseradish on all the other racers which caused them to spin out of control into a daze. Beef on Weck used his dastardly deception to take out the competition and cruised home winning the inaugural 2018 Mascot Race by more than 10 lengths. It was quite a show and no amount of bad weather could dampen the fans’ excitement seeing this absurd turn of events. While Celery relived her 2017 season ending win glory with a video tribute on the Big Board, Beef on Weck gloated in the faces of the other competitors and looks to be a force who will challenge Buffalo Wing for Buffalo Food Mascot Supremacy.

In the end, the Bisons ended up losing to the Indians 2-1 with Darnell Sweeney striking out with the bases loaded in the ninth, but the story of the day was Carrot’s arrival and Beef on Weck’s stunning act of chicanery. We are looking forward to more good times at Coca-Cola field this summer and the Bisons have some really fun and exciting promotions on offer for this season along with some new concession items. Find all the information here.

I will be bringing you semi-regular coverage of the Bisons this season so stay tuned and Go Bisons!

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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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