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Seaver on Reggie: 'Reggie sometimes turns the logical part of his brain off'

Tom Seaver regaled a crowd of 900 in the Adam's Mark ballroom today with stories of his career as the keynote speaker at the Triple-A All-Star Luncheon. Prior to the luncheon, Seaver met the media and provided a few similar tales.

But he quickly turned serious when I asked him his thoughts on Reggie Jackson's recent diatribe to Sports Illustrated that several Hall of Famers -- including the recently deceased Gary Carter -- did not belong in Cooperstown. Those words drew the ire of former Carter teammate and current Bisons manager Wally Backman, who called Bergen Record columnist Bob Klapisch over the weekend to complain about Jackson's comments. 

Said Seaver: "Reggie is Reggie and I like Reggie but Reggie sometimes turns the logical part of his brain off. And Reggie loves to talk. It just didn't make very much sense to me.

Asked what kind of reception Jackson will receive from Hall of Famers in Cooperstown at this month's induction ceremonies, Seaver said, "It will be interesting to see, won't it? Reggie will apologize. He's very diplomatic. The other part of it is he believes very strongly about the institution. He wouldn't be saying that if it was just about himself I hope. And he's too bright not to be that way."

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

A YouTube gem: The 1988 Triple-A All-Star Game

Lo and behold, look what got messaged me about on Twitter today -- a seven-minute home YouTube video of the 1988 Triple-A All-Star Game, complete with the Benny Distefano standing ovation, Morganna and the Earl of Bud. Good shots of a young Marty Brown at third base too (minus the backflip I wrote about today!).

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington with thanks to @jaymay13)

Getting a read on Triple-A All-Star Day

Nearly two years in the making, today is Triple-A All-Star Day in Buffalo.

The Bisons will host Triple-A baseball's top players tonight at 7 in Coca-Cola Field but the day begins at noon with a sold-out luncheon for 900 in the Adam's Mark, featuring Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Be sure to check out today's print and online coverage from The News starting with our video preview.

---In our cover story, Charlie Specht and Steve Watson address all the things that have changed since the game was last year in 1988 but the one thing that's the same is that the ballpark can still be a great gathering place for downtown.

---On the field, the game has come full circle with the 25th anniversary edition returning to the ballpark where the first one was held in 1988.  You can read more on the genesis of the event by going back to the cover story of Monday's preview section.

---It's a major homecoming for Marty Brown, the Las Vegas manager who led the Bisons to a title in 2004.

---Jerry Sullivan chats with St. Francis product Jim Negrych, the final player added to the all-star rosters.

---Bisons ace Matt Harvey will be the IL's first reliever and the Triple-A rookie is thrilled he's in the game and closing in on a shot with the Mets.

---Amy Moritz checks in with Pirates prospect Starling Marte and lists several other names to watch.

---Moritz also has the outlook from the starting pitchers, Graham Godfrey of Sacramento and Tyler Cloyd of Lehigh Valley.

---Don't miss the ceremonial first pitch: It's from Hall of Famer Tom Seaver to Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. 

John Lott of Toronto's National Post came to town yesterday and did this interview with Las Vegas shortstop and top Blue Jays prospect Adeiny Hechavarria.

The Bleacher Report has quick hits on 10 players you need to know in tonight's game.

Western New York media veteran Dave Ricci chipped in for the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice with a story about reigning IL MVP Russ Canzler of Columbus.

The Salt Lake Tribune checks in with Angels prospect Kyle Calhoun, who went right from Class A to Triple-A this year and even got a brief call to Anaheim. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

A busy Triple-A workout day

We have many items yet to produce for Wednesday's print editions, so here are some quick notes for Workout Day at the Triple-A All-Star Game.

---Both teams took batting practice and had official photos taken Tuesday. The only player missing was mega Kansas City prospect Wil Myers of Omaha, who played in the Futures Game Sunday and was late arriving to Buffalo due to travel issues. He is expected to play in the game here Wednesday.

---IL manager Mike Sarbaugh will start Lehigh Valley's Tyler Cloyd, and then bring Bisons ace Matt Harvey into the game. Harvey is likely to go two innings.

---Great media crowd around PCL manager Marty Brown, the former Bisons skipper, and St. Francis product Jim Negrych, the Syracuse second baseman just added to the IL roster. Brown met his wife, Kyoko, in 2006 while managing in Japan and she is making her first trip to Buffalo.

She's a little freaked out right now because everybody is coming up, is overly friendly, knows me and is like, "I haven't seen you forever,'' Brown said. "I'm hugging everybody and shaking hands and she's like "Wow, you did stay here for a while.' "

---The Bisons are almost certain to have a sellout for this one. There were fewer than 800 tickets left at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

---Hall of Famer Tom Seaver will speak at a sold-out luncheon Wednesday at noon at the Adam's Mark and throw a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. The catcher will be another Hall of Famer -- Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg. That should make for a pretty good Kodak moment for fans.

---The nightly chicken wing race will be at the end of the fifth inning. Will Celery finally win?

---The Earl of Bud, that fan favorite of the 80s and 90s, will return in the middle of the 5th.

---The three Bisons players in the game will be wearing the team's 1988 red, white and blue retro uniforms in honor of the first all-star game played here that season.

---Sabres crooner Doug Allen will sing both the Canadian and U.S. national anthem.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Video of Pascucci's big moment

Did you miss the Triple-A Home Run Derby last night? Check out the video below of Valentino Pascucci's epic clinching home run. Great fan reaction too. Definitely the loudest single cheer I've heard in Coca-Cola Field in years.

Pascucci's Twitter account (@PoppaValentino) has been busy the last few hours thanking fans. From talking to him and reading the tweets, I can tell you he was thrilled by the reaction he got.

As he said last night, "Thanks for all the great support tonight, I had a blast in the Derby, it was awesome to hear the crowd go crazy on my winning homer."

Hear the crowd here.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Hear from Pascucci, Johnson on HR Derby

Great show by both Val Pascucci and Dan Johnson of Charlotte in the finals of the Home Run Derby Monday night. Hear their comments below.

Valentino Pascucci

Dan Johnson

There are 1,000 tickets left for the Triple-A All-Star Game Wednesday night. Hope it's as good a show.

Best exchange most fans didn't see: Some PCL players telling Fred Jackson in the tunnel "you're good for 15-20 [fantasy] points a game, right?" Great stuff.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Live from the Triple-A Home Run Derby

It's Derby Night in Downtown Buffalo

AdsThe field is getting set for the Triple-A Home Run Derby and, in particular, things are a go on the left-field screen (left-click for a bigger view). Check out all the ad targets that correspond to prizes that will be won by a fan if a home run goes careening into the net at that spot.

The celebrities and Triple-A sluggers have been in the stadium tunnel late this afternoon practicing their swings, with the celebrities adorned in white home Bisons uniforms. The Triple-A sluggers will feature current Bisons star Valentino Pascucci and 2010 star Mike Hessman.

A crowd of more than 16,000 is expected and we'll have live updates in the 7 p.m. hour when the Derby kicks into gear on a new thread here at Inside Pitch.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

St. Francis' Negrych added to IL All-Star roster

It's Triple-A Home Run Derby day and we've got the full outlook on both the Triple-A and Celebrity Derby with this story in today's sports section.

We also have a full 16-page section on the Triple-A All-Star Game in today's print editions with stories on the genesis of the game as a big event, a review of the 24 previous classics, a look back at the 1988 game in Buffalo and the building of then-Pilot Field, as well as a Buffalo fan who has attended every Triple-A classic. 

JNToday's sports section has full rosters for both the International League and Pacific Coast League and there may be some more tinkering yet. Here's a big addition just named to the IL squad this morning: Hot-hitting Syracuse second baseman and St. Francis product Jim Negrych (left). 

Negrych is batting .284 with six homers and 30 RBIs in 54 games for the Washington Nationals affiliate -- but tore it up in June by batting .338. He homered last Wednesday against the Bisons in a 5-0 Syracuse victory.

Negrych, 27, was a sixth-round draft pick by the Pirates out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. He got to Triple-A Indianapolis in 2010, hitting .295 in 48 games and homering in a triumphant return to Buffalo, but never got a call to the big leagues. He signed with the Marlins last year but was buried in Double-A at Jacksonville, batting .304, and never got back to Triple-A in New Orleans. 

Negrych signed late this year, finally getting the call from the Nats and getting in three games at Double-A Harrisburgh before joining the Chiefs on April 30. He started slowly, batting just .214 in the first 10 games and .222 over the first 17, making a return to Double-A possible. Since May 26, Negrych is batting .308 and has largely become the Chiefs' regular at second base.

The IL has dropped Pawtucket's Mauro Gomez and Indianapolis' Jordy Mercer from its roster because both are in the big leagues. Oklahoma City catcher Landon Powell has been dropped off the PCL roster.  The IL has 25 players, the PCL 27.

The Bisons said Sunday about 2,000 tickets were left for Wednesday night's game. Bet there's a bit of a run at the box office today from Negrych's family and friends. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Ruff added to Celebrity Home Run Derby

The Bisons have just announced one final addition to Monday night's Celebrity Home Run Derby at Coca-Cola Field and it's a big one: Sabres coach Lindy Ruff will be in the batter's box taking his hacks.

Ruff will join Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta in the field. It will also include Bills Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Joe DeLamielleure, Bills running back Fred Jackson, Bills CEO Russ Brandon, former Bills GM Bill Polian and two Western New York natives: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Hollywood writer Nick Bakay.

The celebrity and Triple-A derbies begin at 7 p.m. There are 2,500 tickets left for the Derby and 2,000 left for Wednesday night's Triple-A All-Star Game.

Be sure to pick up Monday's editions of The News for a 16-page special section on the game and a full preview of the Derby.

---Mike Harrington
(ww.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

IL loses its starter at 2B for Triple-A All-Star Game as Red Sox call up Ciriaco to replace Pedroia

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is heading to the disabled list because of a bad thumb and that's going to cause a big hole in the infield for the International League at next week's Triple-A All-Star Game here.

CiriacoThe Boston Globe is reporting the Red Sox are calling up Pawtucket infield star Pedro Ciriaco (left) for tonight's series opener against the Yankees and he may even be thrust into the starting lineup. Ciriaco is batting .301 for the PawSox and was scheduled to start at second base for the IL here Wednesday night. He has split time this year between second and short.

Ciriaco hit .419 for the Red Sox in spring training and has kept hitting all year in Triple-A. He has absolutely killed the Bisons, posting a .448 average (13 for 29) and scoring eight runs in six games. He went 4 for 5 against Buffalo on Opening Day in McCoy Stadium and was 9 for 20 with seven runs in Pawtucket's four-game sweep of the Herd here last month.

The IL has not named a replacement for Ciriaco on the roster.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Three teams in a month later, Schwinden back with Herd as series continues in Syracuse

Chris Schwinden's magical mystery tour of Triple-A baseball has come full circle and he rejoined the Bisons Thursday in Syracuse.

Schwinden, you may recall, was Buffalo's most valuable pitcher last season and the Herd's lone representative to the Triple-A All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. 

Schwinden was 3-4 with a 2.59 ERA in nine starts for Buffalo this season as he suffered from terrible run support. He was 0-2, 11.25 in two starts with the Mets in the middle of that stint and even had an adventurous trip back to Buffalo after being in Toronto and Pittsburgh with the big club.

Schwinden got another recall before getting designated for assignment June 1 after giving up two runs in two-thirds of an inning in a relief stint against the Phillies.

After that, Schwinden became Mr. DFA.

The Blue Jays claimed him off waivers and sent him to Las Vegas. They put him back on waivers after he gave up seven runs in three innings June 3 against Reno. Schwinden never got to make his next start in Fresno, near his hometown of Visalia, and had reportedly purchased a few dozen tickets for family and friends. Yikes.

The Indians took him next, and Schwinden was 1-2, 5.87 in three outings at Columbus. DFA again.

The Yankees signed him for Scranton. He went 0-1 with three earned runs in four innings July 1 against Rochester. DFA Again.

Now the Mets have reclaimed him and put him back in Buffalo. That's one crazy month. Put him in the Herd rotation and keep him there and he'll probably be overjoyed. He might even produce.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Triple-A All-Star ticket updates/roster changes

The latest ticket updates from the Bisons have 2,800 tickets left for next Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star Game and 3,300 remaining for Monday night's Triple-A Home Run Derby. Tickets remain available at Bisons.com or by calling THE-HERD (843-4373). They are $15 for the derby, $25 for the game or $35 for both.

As for game rosters, the International League and Pacific Coast League have announced their first batch of changes. Injuries and sometimes personal reasons can impact the lineups, just as they will for Tuesday's MLB game in Kansas City. In this case, however, the Triple-A rosters can also be impacted if any players are called up to the major leagues.

The IL has added Durham outfielder Leslie Anderson in place of Charlotte's Greg Golson (disabled list). Anderson is batting .312 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in 71 games.

The PCL has added Memphis pitcher Brandon Dickson and Colorado Springs outfielder Matt McBride. Not attending are Memphis pitcher Barret Brown, Colorado Springs outfielder Andrew Brown and Albuquerque infielder Luis Cruz. 

Dickson is just 4-8 in 15 starts but has a 3.58 ERA that's seventh in the PCL. McBride ranks sixth in the league with a .346 batting average while collecting six homers and 46 RBIs. 

The one callup I'm watching for is top Pittsburgh prospect Starling Marte of Indianapolis. The reigning IL batter of the week is batting .290 overall and .333 since June 1 and seems like he's going to become a Pirate any day in the wake of Jose Tabata's demotion.

But there's scuttle all over the Internet the team doesn't want to promote and then have him get cold over the all-star break. It might make more sense to keep him in Indy, let him play on the minors' big stage in Buffalo and then let him join the Bucs' second-half run. We'll see.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Herd grapevine on BPO night -- including video of the crazy game-winning celebration

Some notes collected during the Bisons' bizarre 5-4 win over Durham Tuesday night:

---The crowd of 15,930 was the largest of the season but certainly the smallest ever on BPO Night. Afternoon rains hurt walkup but how many walkups really come on this night? Tickets are more expensive and most folks think it's a sellout anyway. Plus, I'm figuring lots of folks have spent on next week's Triple-A All-Star festivities. Interesting after next week to take a fuller look at the team's attendance. Seems like some anti-Mets backlash.

---The Bisons were 30-2 when leading after seven innings, including 17-1 at home, but looked like they were about to lose until first base umpire Toby Basner's safe call at first base allowed Raul Reyes to beat out an infield chopper and drive home the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. After the 49-minute rain delay, it took just two pitches for Jordany Valdespin's winning hit to allow them to snap an 0-36 run when trailing after eight innings, including 0-18 at home.

Crazy fun celebration as Valdespin wasn't caught by his teammates until he was all the way in left field. Check it out. 

WEDNESDAY NOON UPDATE: Valdespin is gone again, back to the Mets because Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been put on the disabled list.

---The Bisons were one strike away from finishing 0-8 against Durham, which would have been a first in their modern era. It would have been the Bulls' first 8-0 against an opponent too.

---The Bisons spend the next five days in Syracuse, playing three games against the Chiefs and two against displaced Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Ace Matt Harvey goes against nine-game winner and ex-big-leaguer Zach Duke Wednesday night. The Bisons are 9-1 on Wednesdays this year, for what that's worth. That means they're 33-43 on all other days.

---Another terrific BPO post-game show. Major props to the Bisons for honoring The News' own Allen Wilson in their video tribute for those who have passed on in the last year. The crowd gave it up as always to the military personnel and the team's Olympic celebration included a thunderous ovation to the onfield introduction of pole vaulter Jenn Suhr. Another great touch.

---Be sure to check out Monday's editions of The News for a 16-page preview of the Triple-A All-Star Game festivities. And keep your eyes both in print and online for full coverage all next week.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Bisons waiting out the rain

For the Bisons organization, this is one of the biggest nights of the year. Independence Eve is a tradiation at the downtown ballpark with an early evening game, post-game performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the largest fireworks display of the season. Only right now, Mother Nature is not cooperating. 

When the teams completed batting practice the interns swarmed the field to help unroll the tarp. A light rain has started over the ballpark and rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast for downtown Buffalo tonight.

So the Buffalo Bisons and Durham Bulls are in a holding pattern for the moment.

The Bisons are hoping to avoid going 0-8 against Durham this season and break a nine-game losing skid to the Bulls dating back to last season.

Righty Collin McHugh (0-2, 7.07 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Herd.

Tonight's lineup:

Jordany Valdespin -- 2B
Josh Rodriguez -- SS
Josh Satin -- 1B
Fred Lewis -- LF
Valentino Pascucci -- DH
Matt den Dekker -- CF
Matt Tuiasosopo -- 3B
Raul Reyes -- RF
Rob Johnson -- C

--- Amy Moritz 

Pascucci, Hessman headline Triple-A HR Derby

PascCurrent Bisons slugger Valentino Pascucci (left) and former Buffalo basher Mike Hessman -- the top two active leaders in career minor league home runs -- headline the participants for Monday night's Triple-A Home Run Derby in Coca-Cola Field, the Bisons announced today.

Pascucci will be joined by 2010 Derby champion Dan Johnson of Charlotte and Matt LaPorta of Columbus on the International League team. Hessman, who now plays for Oklahoma City, will lead the Pacific Coast League squad that also includes Round Rock's Joey Butler and Tacoma's Luis Jimenez.

 

HessHessman (right) has slugged 354 home runs over parts of 16 seasons. Pascucci has 244 career minor league home runs in 13 seasons, including 51 over the past three years with the Bisons. Hessman hit 18 with Buffalo in 64 games in 2010 and leads the PCL with 25 this season. Pascuci leads the Bisons this year in home runs (13) and RBIs (51).

The sluggers will compete in a three-round derby to determine an overall Triple-A champion. Monday's event also includes appearances by The Famous Chicken and a Celebrity Home Run Derby that includes Bills Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Joe DeLamielleure, current Bills running back Fred Jackson, Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, New England Patriots and Buffalo-native Rob Gronkowski, former Bills GM Bill Polian and Buffalo native and Hollywood-based writer Nick Bakay.

Johnson has 21 homers for Charlotte and is the only active IL player with 20 this year (Toledo's Brad Eldred hit 22 before leaving for Japan). LaPorta, who has shuffled between Columbus and Cleveland the last two years, was the top online votegetter in fan balloting for the game. 

Among the other PCL players, Jimenez has hit 13 homers with a .530 slugging percentage in 75 games this year at Tacoma (Seattle) and has 134 career minor-league homers. Butler has 12 homers in 82 games for Round Rock (Texas) with a .469 slugging percentage.

Tickets remain for the Derby. They are $15 and are available at Bisons.com or by calling THE-HERD (716-843-4373). Fans can also purchase the All-Star Ticket Package for $35, which includes one ticket to the Home Run Derby and one ticket to the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

(Buffalo News file photos: James P. McCoy and John Hickey)

Bisons look for first win against Durham

The Buffalo Bisons are still looking for their first win against Durham this season when they host the Bulls tonight at Coca-Cola Field. The Bulls swept the four-game series in Durham, June 22-25. The Herd has lost eight straight to the Bulls dating back to last season. Durham has won the first two games of this series at Coca-Cola Field.

Lefty Garrett Olson (3-4, 4.74) is making his 17th start of the season. Olson picked up the win in his last start, giving up three earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings against Louisville on June 27.

Tonight's Bisons' lineup:

Jordany Valdespin -- 2B
Matt den Dekker -- CF
Josh Satin -- 1B
Fred Lewis -- LF
Valentino Pascucci -- DH
Matt Tuiasosopo -- 3B
Raul Reyes -- RF
Josh Rodriguez -- SS
Rob Johnson -- C

--- Amy Moritz 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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