As I talked about earlier today, the Bisons are advertising a "major event announcement" as part of Friday's sold-out Winter Hot Stove Luncheon in the Adam's Mark. The last time something like that came down, it was for the 1987 exhibition game between the Blue Jays and Indians that was played through the freezing rain of War Memorial Stadium. The media was furious because then-GM Mike Billoni billed it as "a major announcement for the future of Buffalo baseball" and folks thought Bob Rich Jr. had purchased the Expos or some other team. Buffalo has never had another major-league April exhibition since and probably with good reason. You might ruin your field for a month or more trying to play one.
I have no official confirmation of what's up but International League president Randy Mobley will be in town tomorrow so I'm fairly certain the word is this: Buffalo is going to be named the host of the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game. It would make sense because 2012 will be the 25th anniversary season for Coca-Cola Field and for the Triple-A version of the Midsummer Classic. Then-Pilot Field, remember, staged the first game on July 13, 1988 before a sellout crowd of 19,500. The IL hosts this year (Lehigh Valley) and the Pacific Coast League has next year in Salt Lake City so 2012 comes back to an IL park.
The game is broadcast every year on ESPN and a national network of radio stations and is held the day after the big-league game. In this case, you're looking at July 11, 2012, the night after the big leaguers play in Kansas City. But unlike 1988, this event has grown into a huge spectacle thanks to great hosting jobs in recent years by cities such as Rochester, Indianapolis and Portland. There's a home run hitting contest on Monday and a gala luncheon on game day.
You'll see the top prospects from around Triple-A meeting in an IL vs. PCL format and it will be a great show. I'm betting pretty solid that's what the announcement will be. Keep it locked at buffalonews.com Friday afternoon when the official word comes down.
Buffalo News file photo of Coca-Cola Field by Mark Mulville
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