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Blue Jays cult hero Kawasaki coming back to Buffalo

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

With Jose Reyes coming off the disabled list and returning to the Toronto Blue Jays for their game today against Tampa Bay in Florida, someone had to be sent down to Triple-A Buffalo.

And the odd-man out was Munenori Kawasaki.

The 32-year-old in just his second season of professional baseball in North America not only ably held down the shortstop position while Reyes was rehabbing his injured ankle, he became one of the most popular guys in the Blue Jays clubhouse and a fan favorite with an avid cult following.

Even the Toronto reporters waxed poetic about the demotion of Kawasaki after Toronto's 5-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night. (Check out stories from John Lott of the National Post and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.) How important was Kawasaki's personality to the team? So much so that manager John Gibbons announced the move in front of the team with Kawasaki at his side. That's not normal.

But neither is Kawasaki. In a good way.

He started the season with the Bisons but Buffalo barely got a chance to learn to spell his name. He played in just two games with the Herd before getting the call up to Toronto after the injury to Reyes.

With Toronto, he played in 60 games, batted .225 and drove in 17 runs. Last year with Seattle he layed in 61 games. Before that, he was with Fukuoka in Japan.

But more than the stats is Kawasaki's personality. He found a way to immediately become a favorite of the players (and the fans) without speaking much English, but with clearly showing a deep love for the game.

Need an example? Check out this video of him giving a post-game interview after hitting a walk-off, two-run double against Baltimore on May 26. Trust me. You will smile for the rest of the day.

Anthopoulos: Reyes Timetable Talk

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

By Sunday, Jose Reyes should be back with the Toronto Blue Jays.

That's the word from general manager Alex Anthopoulus, who met with members of the media at Coca-Cola Field before the Buffalo Bisons game with the Durham Bulls Monday night.

Reyes is on his fourth day of Major League Rehabiliation with the Herd. He will leave the club tomorrow.

"We talk to him after every game," Anthopoulos said. "We may decide after tonight’s game or it may be after Wednesday’s game in New Hampshire. He may come in and say 'Ah, it’s a little tight, it’s a little stiff.' Maybe he needs to DH Thursday.

"New Hampshire is playing at home through Sunday. We play in Boston through Sunday. I can’t envision any scenario that would go longer than that because he’s obviously playing every day. ... I think we’re trying to keep it open."

It's the last day with the Herd for Reyes

Jose Reyes 1
Jose Reyes is playing shortstop and leading off for the Buffalo tonight as the Bisons close out their homestand against Durham.


by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Where Jose Reyes will play next is still a question without an answer. But this we know for certain: He is playing shortstop and leading off for the Buffalo tonight as the Bisons close out their homestand against Durham (TWCS 713, Radio 1520) and it will be his last game with the Herd on this rehabilitation stint.

Reyes is 5 for 13 (.385) with three runs scored and a stolen base in three rehab starts with the Bisons (two at short, one at DH).

Before the game, Reyes said he expects to travel on Tuesday and play in New Hampshire on Wednesday. And reinforced is the word that he is being evaluated after every game.

Ricky Romero back on the mound: The lefty makes his ninth start for the Herd tonight nad has two straight quality starts, allowing just one unearned run in 13 combined innings with nine strikeouts and seven hits. But for his efforts, Romero is still searching for his first win (0-1, 6.68 ERA).

Tonight's Bisons' Lineup:
Jose Reyes -- SS
Kevin Pillar -- RF
Mauro Gomez -- 3B
Luis Jimenez -- 1B
Moises Sierra -- LF
Eugenio Velez -- DH
Mike McCoy -- 2B
Anthony Gose -- CF
Mike Nickeas -- C 

Herd wins in 14, learns Reyes will stay another day on rehab

By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Bisons put in a long afternoon's worth of work Sunday in Coca-Cola Field and got rewarded. Their fans get a reward too -- one more look at Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes.

Late in the Herd's 1-0, 14-inning win over the Durham Bulls, word filtered out of Toronto that the Blue Jays have finalized their plans for Reyes, their rehabbing shortstop: He will play Monday night's homestand and series finale here against the Bulls, then transfer for two days to Double-A New Hampshire.

Reyes will then be close at hand to join the Blue Jays Thursday night in Fenway Park for the opener of a key four-game series against the Boston Red Sox. He thus will not play in the Jays' three-gamer on the unfriendly turf of Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field that opens Monday night with Toronto looking for its franchise-record 12th straight win.

(6 p.m. update: Reyes will play Monday in Buffalo but Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has told Toronto reporters "we're re-evaluating daily" and has not ruled out Reyes joining the team in Tampa).

Reyes went 2 for 5 in the game as the designated hitter and was pulled for pinch-hitter Ricardo Nanita in the bottom of the 14th after catcher Mike Nickeas led off with a double. Nanita sacrificed and Durham pitcher Juan Sandoval threw the ball away for an error to allow Nickeas to end the longest scoreless game by innings in Coca-Cola Field's 26 seasons. The contest took exactly four hours to play.

Reyes has gone 5 for 13 in his three games in Buffalo and the Bisons have won all three against South Division-leading Durham, which swept the Herd in a four-gamer last month in North Carolina.  Six Buffalo pitchers combined to hold Durham to eight hits, striking out 12 and walking only one. Started Todd Redmond went six innings and Joel Carreno tossed a scoreless 14th to get the win.

Sunday's paid crowd of 10,166 pushed the three-game total since Reyes hit town to 41,360.

Reyes moves to DH

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Jose Reyes will get a break from the field today, spending his third day in Buffalo as the designated hitter for the Bisons as they host Durham at 1:05 p.m. (Radio 1520).

Reyes, with the Herd on his Major League Rehabilitation tour, started the last two games at shortstop going 3 for 8 (.375) with three runs scored and a stolen base. He has been on the disable dlist since suffering an ankle injury with the Toronto Blue Jays on April 12.

The original plan called for three games, though after Saturday night's game, Reyes said he did not know of  the timetable for him to rejoin the Jays.

Ryan Goins returns to shortstop today with Mike McCoy moving back to second. Mauro Gomez will play third base today with Jim Negrych getting the day off.

Redmond gets fourth start: Todd Redmond takes the mouns for his fourth start with the Herd. He is 2-1 with a 7.46 ERA. His last start on Monday was his best of the season, giving up two runs on five hits in six innings to pick up the win against Gwinnett, his former team.

Gomez homers, at home: Mauro Gomez belted a pair of home runs for the Herd on Saturday, his fourth two-homer game of the season. It brings his season total to 21, just two behind Hickory's Ryan Rue for the most in minor league baseball. But the interesting note: Just six of his 21 home runs have been at Coca-Cola Field.

Today's Bisons' Lineup:
Jose Reyes -- DH
Kevin Pillar -- RF
Mauro Gomez -- 3B
Luis Jimenez -- 1B
Moises Sierra -- LF
Ryan Goins -- SS
Mike McCoy -- 2B
Anthony Gose -- CF
Sean Ochinko -- C 

More from Durham's Geltz on Buffalo weather, and his MLB debut video

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to read Sunday's Inside Baseball column on Durham pitcher Steve Geltz, the Ransomville native and former hurler at Wilson High and the University at Buffalo.

Here's one little vignette I didn't get into the story: At spring training this year in Tempe, Ariz., with the Los Angeles Angels, rookies were assigned different tasks or projects to carry through camp. Geltz's assignment from manager Mike Scioscia? The weather reports for camp -- and for his home metro area of Buffalo.

"So I'd go get Tempe and Buffalo and post it in the bulletin board and then to get ahead and get some brownie points I'd get road places we were going like Peoria or Surprise," Geltz told me Friday in the Durham clubhouse. "I'd have to stand up in the middle of the morning meeting and I'd have UV index, pollen count, all that. Then they'd be like,'What's it like back home?' and I'd have to say like, '8 (degrees) with snow.' 

"I actually kind of lucked out. Some guys had to do projects, trips, go to butterfly museums. I just had to print the weather out."

And as promised in the column, here's the MLB.com video showing Geltz's debut inning for the Angels last August against Tampa Bay. There's no embed code (sorry) but the link gets you there.

Gose returns to the lineup

By Rodney McKissic

Anthony Gose will start in left field and will bat ninth for tonight's game against Durham.

Gose was benched for two games for poor fielding then failing to throw the ball to the cut off man in time in the Bisons' loss to Gwinnett on Wednesday. Gose's lapse in concentrate cost the Herd two runs in the ninth inning.

Bisons manager Marty Brown said Gose's place in the battling order in the future will be determined by his performance. Gose generally hits first or second.

Brown said he spoke with Gose at length about his approach to the game on Friday.

"There's no guarantees in this game," Brown said prior to Saturday's game. "It's difficult in this day and age with the sense of entitlement, lack of accountability, it's a different game. ... It boils down to when a player has heart and goes out and plays the game the right way, then everything irons itself out."

Gose is hitting .228, with a pair of homers and 15 RBIs in 53 games for the Bisons.

Here is the starting lineup for tonight's game:

Jose Reyes, ss
Kevin Pillar, cf
Mauro Gomez, 1b
Luis Jimenez, dh
Moises Sierra, rf
Jim Negrych, 3b
Ryan Goins, 2b
Mike Nickeas, c
Anthony Gose, lf
Chad Jenkins, p

Reyes, Star Wars, Blue Jays are all big business at Herd box office

By Mike Harrington

With a certain sellout expected for tonight's Star Wars Night promotion, the Bisons are going to have their first non-July 3 full house at Coca-Cola Field since Aug. 31, 2006 -- when they drew 18,025 for a 13-inning Fan Appreciation Night game against Rochester.

(Reminder to tonight's ticket holders: Gates open at 5. Get to will call early. Have proper ID.)

The last sellout in the ballpark was the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 11, 2012 but the last sellout for an actual game was all the way back on July 3, 2007

Combined with Friday's crowd of 13,169, the Bisons will draw 31,194 for two days -- their most in a two-day span since getting 30,443 on Aug. 26-27, 2008. 

In their four years with the New York Mets, the closest the Herd got to 30,000 in two days was when it drew 28,808 on July 2-3, 2010

Jose Reyes Arrives in Buffalo

Reyes photo

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

"Hello my people! I'm on my way to Buffalo"

That's how Jose Reyes began his video on Instagram as he rode from Toronto to Buffalo for his three-game Major League rehabilitation stint with the Bisons.

Reyes will start at shortstop and leadoff the batting order for the Herd when they host the Durham Bulls tonight at Coca-Cola Field (7:05 p.m., TWCS, Radio 1520). He said he will play nine innings tonight, with that being the plan for the next two games as well although he may make one start as a designated hitter.

Reyes, the four-time All Star and 2011 National League batting champion, injured his ankle on April 12 in Toronto while sliding into second base. His rehab has been ahead of schedule and he comes to Buffalo after playing three games with Single-A Dunedin where he hit .417 (5-12) and more importantly became comfortable again running the bases.

"I'm glad that I'm here, so close to go to the big leagues again. I'm so happy," Reyes said this afternoon as he met the media in the Bisons dugout.

"I was able to steal a base. I was able to score from first on a double," Reyes said of his time with Dunedin. "That kind of indicated that I’m good, so I don’t know that I’m 100 percent because it’s going to come with time, but I’m very close."

While this is the first time Reyes will be in a Bisons uniform, it's not his first trip to Coca-Cola Field. He played three games here in 2003, June 4-6, as a 19-year-old with the New York Mets organization.

"I don’t remember too much but I remember a little," Reyes laughed. "It was a good memory."

Good memories and a warm reception, too, from his Bisons' teammates.

"I know most of the guys here," he said. "We were together in spring training. A lot of Latin players that I know too from the Dominican. I feel like I’m home. I hope I can get through the games and go to the big leagues as soon as possible."

Here is the full audio of Reyes' session with the media

Jose Reyes

Pillar Debuts: The first day in Triple A is a big career step in the life of a professional baseball player. For Kevin Pillar, his debut comes batting second after All-Star Jose Reyes. Pillar was promoted to Buffalo from Double-A New Hampshire and the outfielder will start in center. In his third year of pro ball, Pillar hit .313 with 20 doubles and 30 runs batted in in 71 games with the Fisher Cats. To make room on the roster, outfielder Ryan Langerhans was released.

Webber gets the start: Thad Webber makes his third start for the Herd and is coming off a stellar outing in Pawtucket. On June 15, he did not allow a hit in the seven innings he pitched, allowing just one walk with eight strikeouts. A homerun by Alex Hassan in the eighth broke up the team's no-hit bid.

No Gose: For the record, Anthony Gose is sitting his second straight game. Gose botched a play in center field on Wednesday night, an error which cost the Herd, and pitcher Ricky Romero, a win. Manager Marty Brown has voiced his displeasure at Gose's mental approach to the game. 

Tonight's Bisons' Lineup:
Jose Reyes -- SS
Kevin Pillar -- CF
Mauro Gomez -- DH
Luis Jimenez -- 1B
Moises Sierra -- RF
Jim Negrych -- 3B
Eugenio Velz -- LF
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Sean Ochinko -- C 

Bisons rally falls short, fall to .500

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

For the first time since Gwinnett joined the International League in 2009, the Buffalo Bisons dropped a series to the Braves at Coca-Cola Field.

Gwinnett secured a 3-2 win over the Herd Thursday afternoon as the Herd has lost its last three games.The team, which once was 10 games over .500, fell to 36-36 at the official halfway mark of the season.

Trailing, 3-0, in the ninth, the Bisons began a rally as two walks loaded the bases with two out. A single to right field from Ryan Goins scored two runs. Eugenio Velez, who came in to pinch-hit for Ryan Langerhans in the eighth and stayed in the game, drew a walk to again load the bases for the Herd with two outs. But Mike McCoy flew out to center to end the rally.

Gwinnett got on the board in the fourth when Todd Cunningham doubled, move to third on a wild pitch then scored on a two-out single from Brandon Boggs.

The Braves extended their lead to 3-0 in the eighth on a one-out two-run home run from Ernesto Mejia.

The Herd opens a four-game series with Durham on Friday (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520, TWCS). Jose Reyes is scheduled to be in the lineup tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday on a Major League Rehabilitation assignment. Reyes has been on the disabled list since suffering an ankle injury on April 12 in Toronto. In three games with Single-A Dunedin, he went 5 for 12 (.417). Reyes is a four-time All-Star and was the 2011 National League batting champion.

A friendly reminder that tickets are limited for Saturday's Star Wars Night at the Ballpark. Only about 2,000 tickets remain for that game.

Gose takes a seat for the Herd

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Shocking to, well no one, Anthony Gose is not in this afternoon's Buffalo Bisons' lineup. The centerfielder had a plain bad defensive play in the ninth inning last night which allowed Gwinnett to score two runs, take a 5-4 lead, and ruin a perfectly fine outing for Ricky Romero who was in line to pick up his first win in 12 appearances, dating back to last season.

(Mike Harrington offers his take on last night's game along video of the dubious play.)

Before the game, manager Marty Brown was terse when discussing Gose.

Is Gose not in the lineup on purpose after last night?

“What do you think? Yeah, he needs a day to think," Brown said.

Last night when asked about Gose's play since returning to the Bisons after a stint with the Toronto Blue Jays, Brown said, "We have to get his head removed from a place it shouldn’t be."

Moises Sierra will start at centerfield for this afternoon's game (1:05 p.m., TWCS, Radio 1520).

Germano gets the start: Justin Germano (4-5, 6.22) takes the mound for the Herd. He als allowed tow earned runs or less in three straight starts with his earned run average 3.18 during June. In his last outing, a no-decision on Friday in Pawtucket, Germano allowed just two runs in five innings.

Quality starts: The Bisons starting pitching has been putting up some nice numbers lately. In the last even games, the rotation has five quality starts and a 2.23 ERA. The group has allowed just 26 hits and 12 walks over 40 1/3 innings while striking out 31.

LaRoche to the DL: Andy LaRoche moved to the disabled list, retroactive to June 19. LaRoche felt some tightness in his arm after a throw in Tuesday's game. The Herd activated infielder Eugenio Velez off the temporary inactive list to fill the spot.

Today's Bisons' Lineup:
Mike McCoy -- 2B
Jim Negrych -- 3B
Mauro Gomez -- 1B
Luis Jimenez -- DH
Moises Sierra -- CF
Ricardo Nanita -- LF
Sean Ochinko -- C
Ryan Goins -- SS
Ryan Langerhans -- RF 

Struggling Bisons need turnaround to start today

By Mike Harrington

The Bisons hit the halfway mark of their season today at 1 with a matinee in Coca-Cola Field against the Gwinnett Braves, and the first year of the Toronto Blue Jays affiliation has been a success so far off the field but a clear mixed bag on it. A campaign that couldn't have started any better is clearly at a crossroads with the Bisons at 36-35 after a 15-5 start. 

There will definitely be a boost this weekend by the presence of Jose Reyes but manager Marty Brown's club continues to be in a malaise that it needs to shake quickly if the Bisons' eight-year playoff drought is to end. The Bisons have dropped seven of nine and have slipped a season-high seven games out of first place. On May 5, they had a three-game lead in the IL North, so that's a 10-game swing in six weeks!

Wednesday night's 5-4 loss to Gwinnett goes down in the completely inexcusable category. You cannot blow a 4-0 lead at home to the worst team in the league. Just can't. Anthony Gose continues to struggle here. Gose's braincramp on the game-winning single by Gwinnett's Todd Cunningham had manager Marty Brown comparing him to Brandon Phillips, circa 2003.

As in an incredibly gifted talent playing with an undeserved swagger. Gose simply fell asleep in center field on the play, first dropping the ball and then not getting it back to the infield in time. The video doesn't show it well but listen to the description of play-by-play voice Ben Wagner and you get the picture. Afterward, Brown said Gose needed to "get his head out of wherever it's at." Uh-huh.

It was good to hear in the postgame chatter that Ricky Romero was staying focused on how he pitched and not bummed that he can't get a win. The guy was MLB-ready last night. That's two straight official "quality starts" and three in a row where he's looked strong. If he puts 2-3 more together in a row, the Blue Jays will definitely have their interest piqued. Getting sent off the 40-man roster surely helped Romero, as did a return to his old mechanics. With Esmil Rogers and Chien-Ming Wang filling the rotation, there are no spots right now in Toronto. Interesting to watch.

The rotation is bouncing back from a disastrous May when it had an 8.38 ERA. Still the Bisons are last in the league in team pitching with a 4.95 ERA that would rate as the second-worst of its modern era. The club is 7-11 in June and averaging 3.9 runs per game, a big drop from the 4.9 of May and 5.8 of April.

The record at home (15-18) vs. road (21-17) is baffling. While the pitching is only slightly better at home (4.69 vs. 5.19), the offense is hugely worse. Until last night, the Bisons had been shut out in three of their previous six home games. They're batting .276 on the road, averaging 5.1 runs and have struck 50 homers. In Buffalo, the numbers are just .268, 4.2 and 28. Very strange. It's not like they're still in Las Vegas and hanging out at the casinos.

This stretch features eight out of 12 games against Gwinnett. Time to make some hay. The Bisons are 1-2 so far. They could slip to .500 today after being 10 games over on multiple occasions. Time for this club to make some statements.

Romero back to the mound

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Ricky Romero will look build momentum tonight as he makes his eighth start for the Buffalo Bisons in tonight's game against Gwinnett at Coca-Cola Field.

Romero had his first quality start of the season on June 14 in Pawtucket, pitching six innings of shutout ball while giving up two hits, two walks with three strikeouts. He took a no-decision as the Herd dropped a 1-0 game to the PawSox.

LaRoche gets a rest: Andy LaRoche made his first start of the season at second base Tuesday night, but that lasted only an inning and a half. LaRoche experienced some tightness in his arm after making a throw in the top of the second inning. He is being evaluated and manager Marty Brown said he is day to day.

Reyes shuffling to Buffalo: Four-time All-Star Jose Reyes will be bringing his rehabilitation show to Buffalo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reyes has been out of the Toronto Blue Jays lineup after injurying his ankle while sliding into second base on April 12. Check out Mike Harrington's post for more details on the Reyes rehab.

Tonight's Bison Lineup:
Mike McCoy -- 2B
Anthony Gose -- CF
Mauro Gomez -- DH
Moises Sierra -- RF
Jim Negrych -- 3B
Ricardo Nanita -- LF
Sean Ochinko -- 1B
Ryan Goins -- SS
MIke Nickeas -- C

The Reyes rehab: Just what the Bisons asked from the Blue Jays

Reyes
Jose Reyes was all smiles when he first tried on his Blue Jays cap over the winter. Now he'll be getting fit for a Bisons lid Friday night (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

Getting big-name players from the big club to spend part of their injury rehabilitation assignments in Buffalo was certainly the hope when the Bisons signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays last fall, and the Jays are already making good on that promise.

Josh Johnson made two starts for the Herd last month and now comes the word Buffalo fans -- and most folks in the Bisons front office -- have been waiting for: All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes will be manning his normal spot on the diamond for the Herd beginning Friday night.

The Bisons play the Durham Bulls here Friday night at 7, Saturday night at 6 and Sunday afternoon at 1. As previously scheduled, Saturday is Star Wars Night and only about 3,500 tickets remain. The traditional Friday night crowd will almost certainly swell now and Sunday could be a good house as well, meaning a gate of 40,000+ for the weekend is certainly possible.

As rehab assignments go, this will be the biggest one in Buffalo since Manny Ramirez spent three days here in 2001 at the height of the Cleveland era.

Continue reading "The Reyes rehab: Just what the Bisons asked from the Blue Jays" »

Bulletin: Reyes on his way to Buffalo

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Reports on Twitter from Toronto reporters noted that shortstop Jose Reyes would be joining the Buffalo Bisons on Friday for games this weekend. Reyes injured his ankle on a slide into second base on April 12. He began his rehabiliation assignment with Class A Dunedin on Monday and seems to be ahead of his rehab schedule.

Reyes, a four-time National League All-Star, started Dunedin's last three games at shortstop, going 5 for 12 with one RBI and three runs scored.

More to come ... 

 

Designated hitters hot for Bisons

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Offense continues to be the source of strength for the Buffalo Bisons and the designated hitters have been helping the Herd's cause. Nine different players have been in the DH spot for the Herd this season and collectively they are batting .310 with 17 home runs and 46 runs batted in.

Luis Jimenez and Mauro Gomez have made 51 of the 69 starts at DH. Jimenez gets the call in the spot tonight when the Herd hosts Gwinnett (7:05 p.m., TWCS, Radio 1520). Jimenez is hitting .348 with five home runs and 19 RBI when he is the DH.

Overall in the International League, the Herd ranks second in team batting (.276) behind Durham (.286) but is dead last in pitching (5.03 ERA).

Bush gets the start: Dave Bush will make his 12th start for the Herd. He leads the team in wins (seven) and ERA (4.23). In his last start, June 9 against Scranton/Wilkes Barre in Moosic, Pa., he pitched six scoreless innings giving up just two hits with five strikeouts to pick up the win.

Gomez hits for power: Mauro Gomez leads the International League with 18 home runs. But the interesting note -- only three of those have come at home.

Tonight's Bison lineup:

Anthony Gose -- CF
Jim Negrych -- 3B
Mauro Gomez -- 1B 
Luis Jimenez -- DH
Moises Sierra -- RF
Ricardo Nanita -- LF
Andy LaRoche -- 2B
Ryan Goins -- SS
Sean Ochinko -- C 

Bisons begin four-game set with Braves

By Rodney McKissic

The Buffalo Bisons, coming off a 3-5 road trip through Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Pawtucket, tonight take on the Gwinnett Braves in the first of a four-game series. Todd Redmond (1-1, 10.24) starts his third game for the Herd against Omar Poveda (5-3, 3.01).

Here is the starting lineup for tonight's game:

Anthony Gose, cf
Jim Negrych, 2b
Mauro Gomez, dh
Luis Jimenez, 1b
Moises Sierra, rf
Ryan Langerhans, lf
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Ryan Goins, ss
Mike Nicheas, c
Todd Redmond, p

No Bull about it, Durham celebrates movie heritage on 25th anniversary of classic flick

By Mike Harrington

As I wrote about in Sunday's Inside Baseball column, this weekend is the 25th anniversary of the Kevin Costner-Susan Sarandon baseball classic "Bull Durham." Jim Caple of ESPN.com rolled out an incredible piece deconstructing the movies scenes on Saturday. If you get way down near the end, he talks about a convo on the mound between current Seattle pitching coach Carl Willis and veteran catcher Tim Laker. That had to be in Buffalo in 2002!

The Bulls are having events all season, with a big celebration planned for today. One thing the team did this year was have a nightly "Bull Durham Racers" run. The characters? Of course, Crash, Annie and Nuke. Check it out.

The team also did an hysterical vignette of current and former players reciting famous lines from the movie. Well done and candlesticks DO make a good gift!

Think the Bulls don't embrace the movie? The famous bull is on a wall of the concourse and there's a new one in left field. Hit the bull, win a free steak for you and a fan. Hit the grass, win a free salad. Here's Shelley Duncan doing just that earlier this month.

Lots of extra extra innings

ScoreboardBy Mike Harrington

If it seems like a lot of long MLB days are turning into night lately, you're right.

For the third time in less than a week, a matinee went at least 18 innings. This time, it was the Yankees' 3-2 loss Thursday at Oakland that ended in the bottom of the 18th after 5 hours and 35 minutes. Last Saturday while I was in Scranton with the Bisons, we were following the Mets' 20-inning loss to the Marlins and the Blue Jays' 18-inning win over the Rangers.

So how rare is all this?

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's just the fourth time in history there has been three 18+-inning games in a month and it's never happened in a week. The previous three times were June 1967, August 1972 and May 1973.

More from Elias on A's-Yankees:

Continue reading "Lots of extra extra innings" »

Bisons rained out

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz 

The Buffalo Bisons can't escape the rain on their road trip. The series opener for the Herd in Pawtucket today was postponed due to rain. The teams will play a doubleheader on Friday starting at 5:35 p.m. Both games will be scheduled for seven innings.

Ricky Romero will get his seventh start for the Herd in the opener. He is still looking for his first win as a Bison. He is 0-1 with five no-decisions.

Meanwhile, Andy LaRoche cleared waivers and was outrighted to the Bisons. In one game with the Toronto Blue Jays, the third baseman went 0 for 4 with a strikeout while starting at third base. With the Bisons, he hit .282, driving in 32 runs. 

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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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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