By Mike Harrington
The International League routinely gets its schedule for the next season done at the all-star break but teams often have issues with certain dates that need to be addressed and it traditionally gets released the final week of the season. Looks like things went well a couple of weeks ago at the Triple-A All-Star Game in Reno because the Bisons have announced their 2014 schedule today, complete with game times and even some of the major promotions.
The full schedule with times is downloadable at this link. A quick rundown:
---Opening Day is April 3 at Coca-Cola Field, a 2:05 game against Rochester. That ties the record for the earliest opener in the ballpark's history, which came when the Bisons beat Pawtucket, 10-8, on April 3, 2003 -- in a game played through sleet and 29-degree temperatures! The Bisons and Red Wings play again April 4 at 2:05, then meet April 5-6 in Frontier Field to open the Red Wings' home schedule.
---Key promotions: School Kids Day is Thursday, June 5 against Toledo (10:35 a.m.), Star Wars Night is Saturday, June 7 against Syracuse (6:05 p.m.) and the 20th annual Independence Eve Celebration is Thursday, July 3 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (6:05 p.m.).
---Schedule breakdown: There are 11 fridaynightbash! games, one more than this season, and 32 home games will be played on a Friday, Saturday or a Sunday (44% of schedule). In addition, 44 of 72 games (61%) will be played in June, July and August.
---Longest homestands: There are a pair of 10-gamers (May 30-June 8 against Syracuse and Toledo, and July 23-August 1 against Syracuse, Lehigh Valley and Indianapolis).
---Longest road trip: June 9-19, a 10-gamer to Syracuse, Toledo and Columbus.
---The wrap-up: The home finale is Aug. 26 against Pawtucket. The schedule then finishes with two games in Scranton, two in Rochester and two in Syracuse, with the finale on Sept. 1.
---Game times: No changes there. Night games will start at 7:05 after April while Sunday and weekday afternoons go off at 1:05. Some night games with special events will begin at 6:05.