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Bisons to unveil new message boards, sound system on Opening Day at Coca-Cola Field

Cropped herd board
Depiction of new Coca-Cola Field message board, featuring game score, batter information, out of town scores and time clock. (Bisons.com)



By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Bisons announced roughly $500,000 in improvements to Coca-Cola Field today, with a new sound system to replace the dated version that has been in house since the ballpark's 1988 opening and the installation of new LED message boards on the facing of the club level down both baselines.

Both features will be ready for Opening Day, April 3 against the Rochester Red Wings.

The 120-speaker Distributed Sound System was approved and funded by the city's Capital Program to replace the centralized sound system that had been in place. It has a price tag of over $300,000 and will send music and public address sound throughout the park much more evenly than in the past. Speakers used to be only located in the center field scoreboard and weather, especially wind, impacted the sound quality. The new system has just three speakers in the scoreboard and the other 117 around the park.

The Bisons are footing the roughly $225,000 bill for the LED boards, which will be 50 feet long and 2 1/2 feet high. They will also take care of a major pet peeve I've always had: The score not being on display between innings because it comes off the center field board. The boards will feature real-time game statistics and out of town scores. 

"Providing the absolute best ballpark experience has always been our number one goal and these two additions are great compliments to the action on the field," Jonathan A. Dandes, President of Rich Baseball Operations, said in a statement issued by the team. "The sound system will allow us to reach every fan in the ballpark with crisp and clear music and public address announcements, while the new message boards will be loaded with timely statistical and player information to enhance the baseball experience."

The Jeter announcement: Quick thoughts on his retirement

Jeter
Derek Jeter will call it a career after this season. (Getty Images)



By Mike Harrington

So I was in a meeting this afternoon when the news came out about Derek Jeter's Facebook post heard 'round the baseball world. This is going to be it for the Yankees captain. The 2014 season will be his final season in pinstripes. Here's what's going through my mind right now:

The Decision: It seems like it's time. Jeter will make $12.5 million this year in the final year of his deal and it seems like the Yankees would be loathe to pay him big money again, as he will turn 41 by the 2015 season. Who knows how he'll be this year in the wake of last season's injuries. Early reports from his Florida workouts have been encouraging. But this is still mid-February.

The memories: I've been pretty fortunate to be in the house for a lot of great Jeter moments. Way back in April, 1996 at then-Jacobs Field in Cleveland, I covered his first Opening Day and his first big-league home run. From a crazy night during the 2001 World Series, I can report old Yankee Stadium shook when his "Mr. November" home run won Game Three against Arizona.

Bud Speaks: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has just issued a statement on Jeter's announcement that reads: "In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter. Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the National Pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his -- or any -- era. 

“Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season.”

The Farewell Tour: I was wondering if the reserved Jeter did not want a public retirement so he wouldn't have a Rivera-style farewell tour. Here's hoping he liked what he saw last season because that's what's going to happen at every stop. And Selig's statement certainly means some sort of ceremony at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis and likely the World Series as well. Just as was done for Mariano last year.

The Core Four & A-Rod: Jeter is the last one standing after last year's retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Strangely enough, this decision ensures he will never play with Alex Rodriguez again either. A-Rod, of course, is suspended for this season and Jeter would be retired when he comes back in 2015.

The videos: What will we see replayed the most this season? The Jeter Flip in 2001 against Oakland? The "Mr. November" home run? The dive into the stands behind third base to catch that foul ball against the Red Sox?

The schedule: The Yankees open the season April 1 in Houston. After that, they come to Toronto for three games to open the Blue Jays' home schedule April 4-5-6. Jeter's final home opener in the Bronx will be April 7 against the Orioles. His last home game will also be against the Orioles, on Sept. 25. And his last regular season game will come, in all places, at Fenway Park on Sept. 28.

Up-close looks for WNY fans: In addition to the April series listed above, the Yankees are also in Toronto June 23-24-25, and Aug. 29-30-31. This is a very rare season where they don't play in Rogers Centre in September. They have a four-game set in Cleveland July 7-8-9-10.

Destination Cooperstown: Jeter will become eligible for the Hall of Fame class of 2020. With Mariano Rivera lined up for 2019, those are going to be back-to-back wild weekends in Cooperstown.

Bisons legend Jeff Manto earns nod to IL Hall of Fame; induction will be here in August

Manto
Jeff Manto in 2000. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

By Mike Harrington

Slugging infielder Jeff Manto -- the only modern-era Bison to have his number retired -- is one of three members of the Class of 2014 for the International League Hall of Fame, the league announced today.

Manto, Buffalo's modern-era home run king with 79 from 1997-2000, will be joined by current Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley and longtime Toledo broadcaster Jim Weber. Each member will be inducted during a ceremony in an IL city, and Manto's will come during the Bisons' series against Norfolk from Aug. 11-14 in Coca-Cola Field (date to be determined).

Manto was the IL MVP in 1994, a year he split between Norfolk and Rochester, and has recently taken a job as the minor-league hitting instructor for Norfolk's parent, the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore's director of minor-league operations is Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Brian Graham, Manto's manager on the 1997 Bisons who won the final American Association championship.

Manto is one of only three players in the 128 seasons of Bisons baseball to have his number (30) retired by the club. He joined fellow IL Hall of Famers Ollie Carnegie and Luke Easter in earning the honor during a lavish ceremony in 2001.

Manto hit 125 home runs between seven different IL teams in his career. His '94 season between Norfolk and Rochester saw him lead the league with 31 homers and 100 RBIs.

Manto hit 20 homers in 54 games for Buffalo in 1997 after a midseason trade with Toronto and ended up on the Cleveland Indians' 25-man World Series roster. He hit .311 with 23 homers in 62 games for the Bisons in 1998 as the team won the IL title in its return to the league, and Manto hit .533 during the Triple-A World Series in Las Vegas.

Manto hit 23 more home runs while hitting .296 for the Herd in 1999 before playing 94 games and hitting 13 homers in 2000. He retired following that season to embark on a coaching and managerial career in the minors. He has also been a big league hitting coach for Pittsburgh and the Chicago White Sox. He was fired by the White Sox on the final weekend last season and moved on to Baltimore.

Manto, who was inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, becomes the 28th former Bisons player or manager to be inducted into the IL Hall. The full list by year is at this link. Inductees are selected by a panel of living Hall of Famers, longtime executives, broadcasters, and members of the media. There is no actual IL Hall building. Inductees receive a large trophy plaque and the league maintains a traveling exhibit on the Hall to celebrate its heritage.

You can read my 2001 story on Manto's Buffalo career at this link.

Video: Bisons introduce new manager Gary Allenson

Allenson named Bisons manager

The Toronto Blue Jays announced Monday they have chosen Gary Allenson as Buffalo Bisons manager for the 2014 season. Allen will be introduced as the 19th manager in the Herd's modern era at 11 a.m. Thursday before the team's hot stove luncheon at the Adam's Mark Hotel.

The 58-year-old Allenson, who replaces Marty Brown, is entering his 20th season as a manager in the minor leagues and his second in the Blue Jays organization after leading the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats to a 68-72 record and thrid place in the Eastern League Eastern division last season.

Allenson has a career managerial record of 1,143-1,266 (.474 pct.). Of his previous 19 seasons, eight have been in the International League: Louisville (1998-1999), Ottawa (2003) and Norfolk (2007-2011). He reached the IL playoffs with Louisville in 1998 and with Ottawa in 2003. Allenson also has six years of Major League coaching experience with the Boston Red Sox (bullpen coach: 1992-1993, third base coach: 1994) and the Milwaukee Brewers (first base coach: 2000, third base coach: 2001-2002).

Allenson was a ninth-round draft pick of Boston in 1976 and spent six seasons (1979-1984) as a catcher in the Major Leagues with the Red Sox before finishing his career with 14 games for the Blue Jays in 1985. He hit .221 with 19 home runs and 131 RBI in 416 games in the majors.  He was the International League's most valuable player in 1978 after hitting .299 with 20 home runs and 76 RBIs for Pawtucket.

Joining Allenson on the Bisons staff will be pitching coach Randy St. Claire and hitting coach Richie Hebner. Athletic trainer Voon Chong and strength and conditioning coach Armando Guttierrez will return for their second seasons.

A note of apology

By Mike Harrington

While discussing the aftermath of today's Baseball Hall of Fame voting, I tweeted a comment about another voter's actions that included inappropriate and regrettable language.

As a parent of a special needs child, I am well aware of the daily challenges they and their families face. No one should demean them or what they go through. 

My deepest apologies.

It's Hall of Fame Day: Let the wild debates rage over the ballot

Maddux
Greg Maddux is a lock (AP).

By Mike Harrington

The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2014 induction class today, with coverage on MLB Network starting at noon and the actual results being released at 2 p.m. on MLB Network, BBWAA.com and BaseballHall.org. It is a ballot once again rife with controversy.

----

A personal refresher here: I am a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the body that votes on players to the Hall. You have to be a member for 10 years to have a ballot and I will reach that point following the 2016 season.

So my first vote will come for the Class of 2017, which will include big first-time names like Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada in addition to all the holdovers that will surely still be on the ballot.

----

Big issues this year:

---The size of the ballot, which limits you to voting for 10 players and is causing so much consternation among voters that a committee has been formed to study the issue and perhaps push the Hall to allow expansion. 

---The continued question of what to do with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other Steroid Era players

---What to do with former '80s ace Jack Morris, in his final year on the ballot and holder of a 3.90 career ERA that would be the highest ever for an inducted starter.

---The glut of big first-time candidates, who are pushing holdovers down the list or off ballots entirely. Many thought Greg Maddux would be the first unanimous Hall choice -- and he should have been -- but Dodgers beat writer Ken Gurnick of MLB.com voted only for Morris because he wasn't voting for any Steroid Era players. Foolishness. 

So if I had a ballot, who would I pick?

Brown on leaving Bisons: Farrell connection hurt him in Jays' eyes

By Mike Harrington

Off my vacation perch, I caught up with now ex-Bisons manager Marty Brown early this evening as he was wrapping up some Christmas shopping at home in Missouri. Brown told the Toronto Blue Jays late last week he would not be returning to Buffalo in 2014 and it's certainly no reflection of our fair city or the Bisons.

Brown said that he felt his connection to former Toronto manager John Farrell didn't help his standing in the Jays' organization. Farrell, of course, left the Jays in 2012 on pretty bad terms to take over in Boston. (If you need to know the rest of the story, this probably isn't the blog for you)

"My own opinion is that I knew John from Cleveland and he called me for this job when we were in Las Vegas and then he didn't leave on the greatest of terms," Brown said. "People have affiliated me with John and i think it's kind of hurt me in this organization. I don't have any big affiliation with John. I didn't go to Boston. I tried to do my job and do the best job I could. Toronto never had anything really bad to say to me. I just don't know if there was a huge trust factor and it's best for them to get somebody in there they like."

What Brown essentially told me is if the Blue Jays aren't going to give him a real chance in the major leagues, it was just time to move on and try something else. Translation: Toronto hired ex-Bison Tim Leiper to be its new first base coach, giving Brown what amounted to a perfunctory interview for the job. And that was a final straw.

"They knew who they wanted to hire and that's fine," Brown said. "It makes me feel more in terms of being a manager, is this worth my time and effort to keep doing what i'm doing? A part of you feels like I'm kicking myself in my head. And not just with the Blue Jays. I wasn't getting any interviews from other guys either.

"You try to evaluate yourself and where you're at and what you're doing....I just thought maybe I would step away for a while and see if I can do something else."

Brown isn't ruling out another Triple-A managerial job for next year. Nor is he ruling out a return to manage in Japan, where he managed from 2006-2010 and met his wife. He said scouting might also be another option.

Who might the Bisons suggest to the Blue Jays? I'll have some ideas in my story in Tuesday's editions of The News.

Report: Brown will not return to Bisons

by Amy Moritz

It looks like the Buffalo Bisons will be looking for a new manager for 2014.

Toronto-based Sportsnet is reporting that Marty Brown decided not to return to the Bisons as the team's manager this season. Brown was with the Herd last year and had a one-year contract. He was in his third season managing the Triple-A affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays, the first two in Las Vegas before the Jays moved their affiliation to Buffalo.

It's possible that Brown decided to leave after being passed over for the opened first base coaching job which went to Tim Leiper. 

Brown managed the Bisons from 2003-05 when the team was with the Cleveland Indians. 

In the past few weeks, the Blue Jays have announced several player signings to minior league contracts including infielders Jared Goedert and Steve Tolleson and righthanded pitcher Tomo Ohka along with resigning righthanded pitcher Bobby Korecky.

 

Blue Jays pitching staff highlight Bisons Hot Stove Luncheon

by Amy Moritz

Toronto Blue Jays pitchers Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan, Esmile Rogers and Todd Redmond will be part of the Buffalo Bisons Hot Stove Luncheon.

The event is scheduled for noon, Jan. 16 at the Adam's Mark Hotel Grand Ballroom. 

All four Blue Jays players will take part in a fireside chat during while Toronto executives and Bisons Vice President/General Manager Mike Buczkowski will update Bisons fans as the team prepares for Opening Day on April 3 against Rochester.

Tickets are $25 with tables of eight available for $200. Along with a  buffet meal  each fan will receive a complimentary Blue Jays Toque and an issue of Baseball America. One fan at each table will also recieve a special autographed Blue Jays' item. Door prizes will also be awarded. 

Tickets must be reserved by Jan. 13 and are available at Bisons.com or by calling the Herd at (716) 846-2011.

Blue Jays sign former IL MVP Johnson to minor-league deal

By Mike Harrington

A big potential signing for the Bisons today as the Toronto Blue Jays announced they have signed veteran first baseman Dan Johnson to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League spring training.

Johnson, 34, spent most of last season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before finishing the year with five games for the Norfolk Tides. Combined, the left-handed slugger hit .250 with 26 doubles, 21 home runs and 70 RBI in 138 games. He also led the league with 96 walks (to only 85 strikeouts).

Johnson has been one of the top sluggers in the International League since 2008 with four teams. He was the IL MVP for Durham in 2010 after hitting .303 and leading the league with 31 home runs, a .430 on-base pct. and a .624 slugging pct. in 98 games.

Johnson has finished in the Top 10 in home runs in the IL four times since 2008, leading the league in 2012 with 28 for Charlotte. He was an IL all-star in 2010 and won the league’s Home Run Derby. He also played in the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Field (for Charlotte) and finished second in the Home Run Derby behind Bisons slugger Valentino Pascucci.

In his eight-year Major League career, Johnson has played in 416 combined games with Oakland, Tampa Bay, the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore. He has hit .236 with 59 doubles, 56 home runs and 194 RBI for his big league career.

Johnson is best known for the video at the top of this post -- a dramatic bottom of the ninth, two-out, two-strike home run for Tampa Bay on the last day of the 2011 season. It forged a 7-7 tie with the Yankees in a game the Rays would win in the 11th and helped them nose out Boston for the AL wild-card. 

Manager of the Year awards go today -- Farrell and Who?

By Mike Harrington

The BBWAA Awards continue tonight at 6 on MLB Network with the announcement of the Managers of the Year. (Go to this link after the vote to see all the ballots)

In the American League, the heavy favorite would appear to be Boston's John Farrell -- although I remind you the vote is taken before the postseason. Still, going from last place to 97 wins should get Farrell the nod over Cleveland's Terry Francona and Oakland's Bob Melvin.

You would think Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle is a similar heavy favorite in the National League, although Atlanta's Fredi Gonzalez and Los Angeles' Don Mattingly both won their divisions and Hurdle's Pirates were the NL wild-card. Still, I would have voted for Hurdle for leading the Bucs to October after 20 straight losing seasons. That should be an interesting vote.

What are your thoughts? Vote in our polls.

 

Rookie of the Year nods come tonight to open BBWAA Awards

By Mike Harrington

The winners of the Baseball Writers' Association of America awards will be announced this week during prime-time shows on MLB Network that run from 6-7 p.m. (Full disclosure: I am a BBWAA member and was one of the voters for American League Rookie of the Year).

The three finalists for each award in each league were previously announced the winners will be announced during each live telecast.

The schedule is as follows (click on each link for the finalists):

Tonight: AL Rookie of the Year announced at 6:18, NL Rookie at 6:48
Tuesday: NL Manager of the Year, 6:18, AL Manager at 6:48
Wednesday: AL Cy Young, 6:18, NL Cy Young at 6:48
Thursday: AL MVP, 6:18, NL MVP 6:48.

As a voter for the AL Rookie award, I cannot reveal my vote until the award is announced. The finalists in alphabetical order are Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer, Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias (who opened the season in Boston) and Tampa Bay outfielder Wil Myers.

The NL finalists are Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, St. Louis pitcher Shelby Miller and Los Angeles outfielder Yasiel Puig. If I had an NL vote, I would give mine to Fernandez, who is going to get plenty of Cy Young votes after going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts this year for a terrible team.

(7 p.m. update: Myers and Fernandez were the winners. I voted Iglesias-Myers-Archer. You can see all the votes, including mine, at this link)

Make your picks for Rookie of the Year in our polls:

Stunner from Atlanta: Braves ditching downtown for new suburban park in 2017

By Mike Harrington

On Veterans Day no less, the Atlanta Braves unveiled a new Web site this morning at Homeofthebraves.com and it provides information on a stunning announcement that I had seen just about zero rumor of: They are leaving Turner Field and downtown Atlanta following the 2016 season for a new ballpark to be built in suburban Cobb County and opened in 2017.

The Braves have been downtown since they arrived from Milwaukee in 1966, first at Fulton County Stadium and then at Turner Field. The current facility, located in the parking lot of the old one, was converted from the Olympic track and field stadium and opened for baseball in 1997.

The team, however, says Turner Field needs hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades. In addition, traffic in Atlanta is a nightmare and access and parking have become major issues. The team has three years left on its lease and will play those out before moving to its new home, which is says will operate with ancilliary events and development 365 days a year.

It will also likely produce plenty of revenue for the team as well that could be turned back into baseball's free agent market. Pretty interesting longterm ramifications.

Jeter re-signs for a raise -- but Yankees have a good reason

By Mike Harrington

Now that we're in the post-World Series period, the action should be coming fast and furious with teams making decisions on their free agents, their manager and their rosters in general. Teams have a five-day window to chat with their own, and players can then shop their services starting Tuesday.

(Remember, Bud Selig & Co. frown on any of this news taking away attention from the Fall Classic, so teams are told to stuff a sock in it until the Series is decided).

An unusual story came out of New York today with the announcement the Yankees have signed Derek Jeter to a one-year, $12 million contract -- even though he had a player option for next year for just $9.5 million. So what gives? Simple. If Jeter exercised his option, the Yankees would be charged roughly $15.5 million toward their payroll ceiling that figures luxury tax payments.

They want to avoid the tax and get under a $189 million payroll and paying Jeter $12 million actually saves them $3.5 million (and perhaps many millions more in taxes) while giving their longtime shortstop an extra $2.5 million inn his pocket.

No one knows if this will be Jeter's farewell tour, ala Mariano Rivera. But he played just 17 games this season, totaling 73 plate appearances in the wake of his broken ankle suffered in the 2012 ALCS against the Tigers. It was far and away the most frustrating season of what had been a brilliant career.

Jeter turns 40 on June 26. (Yes, Derek Jeter turns 40. We're all getting old.) Can he really be considered an everyday shortstop anymore? The Yankees need him for PR value for sure and they're probably curious if he'll be able to put together a huge bounceback season. That said, the deal makes sense for them. It's not just let's give a 40-year-old a raise even though he basically didn't play last season.

Meanwhile, the most interesting managerial candidate to watch is Red Sox bench coach and Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Torey Lovullo, who should now be talking to the Cubs, Tigers and Mariners with the season complete.

I chatted with Lovullo last week in St. Louis and you if you missed my Inside Baseball column on him in Sunday's editions, click here to double-back on his story.  Lovullo managed in Pawtucket while working under current Cubs GM Theo Epstein and broke into the big leagues with the Tigers, who are definitely interested as well. Taking over a playoff team with a legendary manager like Jim Leyland figures to be a tough task. As a first-time manager, Lovullo might be better suited with a rebuild like the Cubs.

The Boston papers celebrate

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- Here's how Thursday's Boston Globe and Boston Herald portrayed the World Series triumph of the Red Sox. (Images from Newseum.org)
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Globe sports

Herald

Game 6 podcast: Red Sox put a wrap on a remarkable journey

Farrell-Ortiz
John Farrell and David Ortiz celebrate a World Series title (AP Photo).


By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- The Red Sox were 69-93 last year and no one in baseball thought they were that bad. It was common knowledge what a horrible job Bobby Valentine did in his one year as manager and the plain fact was they were dealing with injuries, big ones to the likes of David Ortiz, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia among others.

Everyone also knew they had a poisonous clubhouse filled with questionable characters (sorry to all you fans of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez). They cleaned those guys out late last season and sent their contracts packing with them.

They brought in role players, guys who are winners on the field and characters in the clubhouse. And they became the ultimate winners with Wednesday's 6-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game Six at Fenway Park. This was Mike Napoli's second World Series appearance. Ditto for Jonny Gomes. It was Shane Victorino's third and his second title. That has to mean something.

No one knew how this team would mesh, although I found them loose and happy when I visited with new manager John Farrell and new bench coach Torey Lovullo during a spring game in Dunedin, Fla. in March. And they played that way all season.

Three titles in 10 years. Almost unthinkable to the denizens of Red Sox Nation, who lived through decades of stunning failure. Now they've won more than any MLB team this century. Weird how life can change.

Click the file below to hear my final thoughts.

Mike Harrington on Game Six

Live blog at 8 p.m.: World Series Game Six

Ever since Fisk, Game Six has provided incredible memories

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- I only need to think back two years for how crazy Game Six of the World Series can be. Remember that one? Rangers-Cardinals in St. Louis.

Texas is a strike away from winning in the ninth, only to see David Freese's two-run triple to right over a braincramped Nelson Cruz tie the game. The Rangers take a 9-7 lead in the 10th on Josh Hamilton's home run but the Cardinals, again down to their last strike, tie it again on Lance Berkman's single. Then they win it in the 11th on a Freese home run on to the Busch Stadium grass berm in center.

(I think I wrote about eight stories that night, constantly changing the narrative. I collected myself enough the next day heading into Game Seven to summarize things with this story.).

Game6pageIn these parts, of course, everyone is looking back at Game Six in 1975, the last time a Series got this deep at Fenway. As I blogged this morning, '75 Game Six hero Carlton Fisk is throwing the first pitch tonight. The 7-6, 12-inning win over Cincinnati on Fisk's home run off the foul pole is the time-tested classic for a World Series game.

Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons described the moment this way in the Boston Globe the next morning:  

"And all of a sudden the ball was there, like the Mystic River Bridge, suspended out in the black of the morning.

"When it finally crashed off the mesh attached to the left-field foul pole, one step after another the reaction unfurled: from Carlton Fisk's convulsive leap to [my note: organist] John Kiley's booming of the "Hallelujah Chorus'' to the wearing off of numbness to the outcry that echoed across the cold New England morning.

  Carlton Fisk

"At 12:34 a.m., in the 12th inning, Fisk's histrionic home run brought a 7-6 end to a game that will be the pride of historians in the year 2525, a game won and lost what seemed like a dozen times, and a game that brings back summertime one more day. For the seventh game of the World Series."

Talk about some incredible column writing in the dead of night. That line about the Mystic River Bridge still resonates here in New England as one of the most famous ever written in a sports section. A framed copy of that page is on the wall about 10 feet to my left (above left) here in the Fenway press room.

For whatever reason, '75 seemed to spark a run of incredible stuff in Game Six of the World Series Consider:

1977--Reggie Jackson's three home runs.
1980--Tug McGraw saves the Phillies' first Series clincher ever.
1985--The Donn Denkinger call at first base saves the Cardinals and costs the Royals.
1986--Buckner. If you need an explanation, you're on the wrong blog.
1991--Kirby Puckett climbs the Metrodome plexiglass for a great catch and hits the game-winning homer in the 11th as the Twins beat the Braves.
1992--Dave Winfield's double in the 11th snaps a tie and the sends the Blue Jays past the Braves for their first title.
1993--Joe Carter Touches 'Em All. See 1986 points above if you don't know.
2002--Spurred on by the Rally Monkey, the Angels wipe out a 5-0 deficit and beat the Giants, 6-5.
2003--A 23-year-old rookie named Josh Beckett pitches a 2-0 shutout at old Yankee Stadium as the Marlins clinch their second title.

Here's MLB.com's look at some great Game Six moments involving the Sox and Cardinals:

'75 Game Six hero Fisk, Tiant to throw ceremonial pitches tonight

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- Tonight will be the first Game Six of a World Series in Fenway Park since the famous 1975 matchup with the Cincinnati Reds that ended on Carlton Fisk's 12th-inning home run.

MLB has just announced Fisk will be at Fenway to see the Red Sox try to win the Series here for first time since 1918, and will join former Sox ace Luis Tiant in throwing ceremonial first pitches. Tiant threw a five-hit shutout at the Reds in Game One in 1975 and was the starter in Game Six.

For more on the Boston bid to win at home for the first time in 95 years, be sure to read my column in today's editions.

In addition, MLB has confirmed the popular local punk rock band the Dropkick Muphys will perform the national anthem and their popular "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" ditty (shown below after the Fisk video)

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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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