At 58-61, the Bisons are playing out the string of their final 25 games but there are still some interesting stories to watch as the team tries to finish .500 and avoid last place. Pitcher Zack Wheeler, the Mets' top prospect, makes his home debut Saturday night at 7 and outfielder Lucas Duda is back in Buffalo after the Mets sent him down to recapture his swing. And these figure to be the final Buffalo games for veteran slugger Valentino Pascucci, who has served the club well for the last three years and put on that memorable show last month in the Triple-A Home Run Derby.
Plenty going on off the field too.
Prior to tonight's 7:05 game, Brian Giles and Russ Morman will be inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. I had a great chat on the phone the other day with Giles, a star here in 1995 and 1996, and you can read his comments in today's story. Morman is currently the hitting coach at Fresno and I chatted with him when he was here for the All-Star Game. That story ran July 27 and, if you missed it, the link is here.
The focus shifts away from downtown Saturday morning at 10, when a ceremony will be held to place a marker at the site of old Offermann Stadium (left) on the corner of East Ferry and Michigan. This has been a labor of love for Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame board member John Boutet, the curator of the online Buffalo Sports Museum. Great to see it come to fruition. The public is invited to the site, currently held by Buffalo's Performing Arts Academy, and relatives of Luke Easter and Frank Offermann are scheduled to attend.
Wheeler's home debut Saturday night will come as part of the team's ever-growing Mystery Ball Night. The annual event is a huge hit: You spend $20 for a certificate for a ball that's wrapped and signed by a local or national sports star or an entertainment figure. Go to the redemption area and get a ball and unwrap who you have. Great idea (limit four certificates per person).
The Bisons have 500 signed balls and the list on their Web site is voluminous so I encourage you to go to that link and check out the names.
On top of all that, Monday is the last day you can vote for the Bisons' 25 Seasons Downtown team. Plenty of tough choices on the ballot, which has had the deadline extended from its originally listed date of Aug. 5. The link to the ballot is here and I'll offer my thoughts next week after the deadline has passed.
2010 file photo: Artifacts from Offermann Stadium at the site of Saturday's ceremony (courtesy John Boutet).