By: Brian Frank
Like many current Blue Jays, Cavan Biggio played in downtown Buffalo as both a minor leaguer and a major leaguer.
Biggio played 75 career games for the Bisons, between playing with the Herd as a rising prospect and on later on rehab stints. His first time in the Queen City was in April 2019, when he played 56 games for the Bisons. He slashed .312/.448/.515 before being promoted to the Blue Jays in late May.
Biggio with the Herd in 2019. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles
“I remember it being really cold,” Biggio said in a recent interview with The Herd Chronicles. “I was only there for the first part of the year so there really wasn’t very many warm games that we played at home. So, not a whole lot my first year, but I ended up spending a good amount of time the next few years there.”
He learned he was being called up to the Blue Jays to make his major-league debut after a long day in Rochester.
“It was one of those kid games that was at like 9:00 AM or so – and we had like a three hour delay,” he remembered. “I remember being a little annoyed at that – just because they kept us there all day. We ended up playing the game and we won. Then I ended up getting called into the office and getting called up. So the day started off on a different note but ended on a pretty god note.”
With then-Bisons manager Bobby Meacham in 2019. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles
Little did he know at the time he’d be returning to Buffalo the next season as a big leaguer, when the Blue Jays made Sahlen Field their temporary home due to the U.S.-Canada border being closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was obviously a very weird year for everybody in the world, not just baseball,” he said. “But we were definitely the outlier in baseball, not being able to play in Toronto for two years for the most part. It was a little disappointing not being able to play in Toronto, but the renovations that our team did, that the organization did with the people in Buffalo, they were just great. Playing there in 2019 as a Triple-A player, then playing there in 2020 as a big leaguer – you really felt the difference with the renovations they made. It was MLB ready.”
The Blue Jays clinched a playoff berth when they defeated the Yankees in downtown Buffalo in late September.
“Even though it was a weird year and it was only 60 games, it still means a lot,” he said. “Just because of where this organization was heading at that time and being able to make the playoffs in our first full year there. It created that path to where we are today and what we want to do – winning a World Series.”
Taking infield in downtown Buffalo with the Blue Jays in 2021. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles
In 2021, when the Blue Jays returned to Sahlen Field for 23 games, Covid restrictions were gradually eased, and fans were allowed to return to the ballpark.
“The stadium drew well,” he said. “The people of Buffalo were really excited to have a team there, even if it was just a rental team for the most part.”
The Blue Jays ended up going 29-20 during their two seasons playing in downtown Buffalo. Biggio believes that the experience of having to play their games away from home for all of 2020 and part of 2021 helped the young players come together and grow as a team.
“I think we had to kind of change our mindset,” he said. “Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and feeling bad, we just kind of had to look at it as it is what it is and just stay positive. We had a job to do and we ended up doing it. I think that said a lot about the players on our team.”
Taking batting practice at Sahlen Field. Photo Credit: Brian Frank