by Amy Moritz
It was a typical April workout at Coca Cola Field -- an indoor workout that is. Cold temperatures, wind and snow put the Buffalo Bisons inside for their first workout in Buffalo in preparation for Thursday's Opening Day. (The forecast for Thursday is more promising, by the way. Sunny with a high of 48 degrees.)
For Jim Negrych, it was his first opportunity to workout in Buffalo as a member of his hometown team. The 28-year-old St. Francis graduate has moved to his third Triple-A team after spending much of last season with Syracuse and part of 2010 with Indianapolis.
But to be playing for the team he grew up watching? There is definitely an added excitement to that.
"It’s definitely exiting," Negrych said. "I’ve had the opportunity to play in Buffalo quite a few times, but to actually play for the Bisons is something that a lot of guys from this area haven’t been able to say they can do. It’s an opportunity to come out and hopefully put people in the stands here and go out and be successful and win a lot of baseball games.
"There’s pressure every day when you play this game to succeed. If you don’t succeed someone else is going to come up and succeed and take your job. Added pressure? I wouldn’t say so. I’ve been around here, played enough games here … to me I’m more excited to be able to come back home. I have been able to play consistently in this area since I was 17 years old. To be able to showcase that I can still play at a high level and to let people around here see it is exciting."
And what about having more fans in the stands to come out and watch the local product? The hope for Negrych is that fans come out to support the team, not just him.
"The last couple of years when I came [with the visiting team] with the Mets being here [as the parent club], it wasn’t the way it was when I was growing up," Negrych said. "Our big goal is to win a lot of baseball games and put people back in the seats and give the city something to be proud of."
Opening Day is Thursday against Rochester. The first pitch at Coca Cola Field is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.