• Charlie Greene

No Season Report 3

Hello Bisons Booster Club members, family and friends,

This is your Booster Club First Vice-President reporting from Buffalo, New York. TRIVIA QUESTIONS: 1. What is unusual about Canadian professional sports regulations? 2. Why are the Atlanta Braves called "the miracle Braves?" Answers below WEATHER REPORT: The lowest temperature at the start of a game if the Bisons had played their 9th home stand of the 2020 season  would have been 73 degrees today, August 5th, a 7:05 PM start and the highest temperature at the start of a game would have been 83 degrees on Friday, July 31st, also a 7:05 PM start.  SPORTS PAGE: The continuing saga of the Blue Jays: On July 19th, ESPN reported that the Blue Jays were trying to make arrangements to share a stadium with another Major League team while Channel 4 TV in Buffalo ran photos of men in Blue Jays shirts doing measurements at Sahlen Field.  On the morning of July 20th, the Blue Jays reported that they were trying to make arrangements to play their "home" games in Pittsburgh when the Pirates were on the road.  By that evening, the SNY network reported that 6 Jays home games conflicted with Pirates home games, so Toronto was exploring the possibility of playing at least some of those games in Baltimore with one or two having to be played in Buffalo.  On Wednesday, July 22nd, the Pennsylvania Department of Health denied the Blue Jays request to play their "home" games at Pittsburgh's PNC Park.  The statement from the PDofH indicated that adding travelers to the region, including for professional sports events, increases the risk of residents, visitors and members of both teams getting Covid-19.  Cases in southwestern PA. had been increasing prior to the announcement.  If the Blue Jays had to play their home games in Sahlen Field, then their "taxi squad" would work out at Frontier Field in Rochester, but after the announcement from Pennsylvania, the Jays officials indicated they had contacts with at least 5 other Major League teams about playing Toronto home games in their stadiums.  Also, they indicated the Jays could play all of their "home" games at the visiting team's home field with the Jays batting in the bottom of the inning as the home team.  All of these options indicated that the Jays were trying to avoid playing games at Sahlen Field, primarily because their own players and players from other teams had made it clear that they wanted to play in Major League stadiums. The situation changed dramatically on the morning of July 24th when the Jays were informed they could not play their "home" games in Baltimore or any other Major League stadium.  That left them with the choice of playing their "home" games in the opposition's stadium and batting last or playing in a minor league stadium.  The team chose to play at Sahlen Field.  The opening game in Buffalo is scheduled to be on August 11th.  Light fixtures had been at Sahlen Field for about a week ready to be installed to bring lighting up to MLB standards.  The Jays first two "home" games were played in Washington after two games there as the visiting team.  Having a 3-game series vs the Phllies "postponed" because of Philadelphia players and a coach testing positive for Covid-19, the Jays stayed in Washington four days before traveling to Atlanta for a 3-game series there.  With the Jays coming to Sahlen Field, their taxi squad still is expected to move their training to Rochester"s Frontier Field before the Jays players arrive in Buffalo.  The taxi squad players started practicing in Buffalo on the afternoon of July 24th.  Meanwhile, the Canadian government continued to hold open the possibility for the Jays to play playoff games in Toronto, if the Jays make the post-season. The adjustments that have to be made at Sahlen Field to make it Major League ready include: upgrade the lighting, expand clubhouse facilities, rearrange the weight room and training rooms, construct additional batting cages, expand dugout spaces, rearrange media facilities and possibly move the bullpens outside the outfield fence.  On July 26th, both the Blue Jays and the Bisons reported that the first Jays game in Buffalo will not be until August 11th vs Miami in order to provide enough time for Toronto to make all the changes that are needed at or near Sahlen Field. If you were able to watch any of the televised pre-season games during the week of July 20th, you saw some of the quirks that I have previously reported happening during spring training games and now happened during the "summer" training exhibition games along with some others that are happening just because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  For example: Some pitchers carry their own rosin bag to and from the mound rather than share one provided for all pitchers.  Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez wanted to face one more batter after there were 3 outs without having to wait for the opposition to bat, so Yankee right fielder Aaron Judge batted and hit a home run which counted in the final score.  Then Velaquez picked up his personal rosin bag and retired to the clubhouse.  During that same game, TV producers played crowd noise through the earphones of the play by play commentators to give the game a more realistic feel.  In another game, with the Yankees leading the Mets after 8 and 1/2 innings, the Yankees wanted their batters to have one more chance to face game pitching, so they came to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning.  In some games, players already assigned to a Major League team's 30-man alternate training site, like former Bisons catcher Erik Kratz, still were playing in games with the 30-man rostered major leaguers.  Also, even with no fans in the seats, the Yankees observed the "7th inning stretch" by playing Kate Smith's recording of the National Anthem.  In San Diego, the Padres showed replays on their video board also with no fans in the stands.  In Philadelphia, the managers agreed to end the game even though it was tied at the end of 9 innings rather than try the new procedure of starting an extra inning with a runner on second base. Meanwhile, with the minor league seasons canceled, operators of minor league stadiums continued to find ways to bring in some money including allowing fans to rent the field for overnight camping and hosting in-park restaurants, farmer's markets, drive-in movies, summer college leagues, high school tournaments and adult softball leagues.  Many minor league team employees were furloughed or laid-off. The future of the minor leagues remains up in the air.  With MLB still saying it wants to reduce MiLB by eliminating 40 teams, on Monday, August 3rd, MiLB dismissed its negotiating team and established a new team, the third one so far.  That caused MLB to have to decide which team with which it wants to negotiate.  Also, some folks are suggesting that MLB could ignore MiLB and simply have MLB teams make agreements with minor league organizations directly.  If all this sounds confusing, it probably is and a lot of important decisions need to be made before the current MiLB and MLB agreement ends at the end of September. Transactions: On July 19th, former Bisons pitcher Collin McHugh announced that  he would not be pitching for the Red Sox this season because his elbow surgery had not healed sufficiently and the Blue Jays assigned the following players to their alternate training site from the Buffalo Bisons: RHP T.J. Zeuch, RHP Jacob Waguespack, 2B  Santiago Espinal, CF Forrest Wall, LHP Brian Moran, RHP Justin Miller, 2B Andy Burns, RHP A.J. Cole, RHP Sean Reid-Foley, LHP Thomas Pannone, 2B Rueben Tejada, LF Patrick Kivlehan, LHP Travis Bergen, RHP Bryan Baker, RHP Julian Merryweather, LHP Anthony Kay, RHP Thomas Hatch, RHP Jake Petricka, CF Josh Palacios and C Caleb Joseph. On July 20th, the Orioles placed former Bisons outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. on the 10 day injury list with an undisclosed injury and the Mets selected the contract of former Bisons catcher Rene Rivera from their alternate training site. On July 22nd, the Mets placed former Bisons RHP Marcus Stroman on the 10-day injury list with a muscle tear in his calf. On July 26th, the Blue Jays optioned LF Billy McKinney to their alternate training site in Rochester and assigned LF Patrick Kivlehan to the Bisons from their alternate training site.  Also, the Cubs recalled former Bisons RHP Ryan Tepera from their alternate training site. On July 27th, the Blue Jays recalled former Bisons pitcher Ryan Borucki from their taxi squad. On July 28th, the Blue Jays recalled former Bisons RHP Nate Pearson from their alternate training site to start against the Nationals. On July 29th, former Bisons infielder Jose Reyes announced his retirement and the Orioles activated former Bisons outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. from their 10-day injury list. On August 2nd, the Blue Jays assigned RHP Dany Jimenez to the Bisons. On August 3rd, the Marlins called up former Bisons pitcher Justin Shafer from their taxi squad. On August 4th, the Blue Jays called up from their taxi squad former Bisons RHP Jake Waguespack and LHP Anthony Kay. IN OTHER NEWS: It appears that fans will not be able to watch the Blue Jays games in Sahlen Field from outside of the stadium.  The parking lot behind right field will not allow fans to try to watch from the top level.  Besides, that level has a six foot wall that would make watching difficult.  Also, TV news reports state that anyone trying to watch from the grass area behind the left will be asked to leave the area because it is close to the on ramp to the 190 expressway. If you catch any Chicago Cubs games on TV, look for former Bison infielder/outfielder Nick Capra coaching third base and if you watch any Phillies games on TV, look for former Bisons catcher Dusty Wathan wearing a mask as he coaches third base. There are no play by play announcers or analysts in stadiums where games are played.  All their descriptions and commentary are from remote studios, sometimes with each announcer and commentator in a different location.  Thus, wherever they may be, they are watching the game on monitors which has led to some errors.  In one game, for example, the analyst explained why the hitter had not gone to second base only to find out after a lengthy explanation, that the hitter actually had arrived safely at second base.  The problem: none of the analysts monitors had shown the hitter at all, leaving him to assume that he had stopped at first base. TRIVIA ANSWERS: 1. Professional sports teams in Canada exist under a rule that is unique to the nation north of the USA.  For professional sports teams to play their "home" games outside of Canada, the Canadian national government must approve that change of venue. 2. The history of the Atlanta Braves goes back to New England when they were the Boston Braves.  On July 4, 1914, the Boston Braves dropped a doubleheader to the Brooklyn Robins, predecessors of the Dodgers, falling to 26 wins and 40 losses and tightening their grip on last place in the National League, 15 games behind the League leader.  All they did thereafter was go 67-19 to finish 10 1/2 games ahead of the New York Giants at 94-59.  After they swept the Philadelphia Athletics four straight to capture the World Series, their story became baseball mythology and they are known forever as the "Miracle Braves." BACK PAGE: If the Bisons were playing, at this home stand there would have been 3 games each vs Gwinnett, Toledo and Rochester, the longest home stand of the season. Charlie Greene, First Vice-President Buffalo Bisons Booster Club


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