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A surreal day, even for former Bisons skipper Torey Lovullo

torey291Imagine if you will, the Buffalo Sabres fielding an entirely new team of players and coaching personnel. Now imagine the Columbus Blue Jackets coming to town, and there behind the bench is their Coach, Lindy Ruff. Between the pipes for the Jackets is Ryan Miller, and there’s Thomas Vanek wearing #26 for Columbus.

Crazy, huh? Yet that’s sort of how things felt at Coca Cola Field this afternoon, as the Columbus Clippers arrived to begin their four game visit against the Bisons. Now the affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, their roster bears a very healthy sprinkling of players we have come to know as Buffalo Bisons, and leading their charge is the quintessential Buffalo guy, Manager Torey Lovullo.

How did the game turn out? Yeah another Buffalo loss, but that was no surprise. Trailing 6-4 going into the bottom of the 9th, the Bisons got their first two runners aboard. A short pop up and a round the horn double play later, it was lights out and another dreary Bisons outing.

A sizable media contingent was on hand in the bowels of the ballpark awaiting Lovullo, who managed here in Buffalo for three seasons before departing along with the Cleveland organization at the end of last year. “It was a little unusual, I got here early, gave my hellos to all the guys. I was very happy at the outcome I wanted to get the distractions out of the way early.” Lovullo admitted that a number of his players who were here last season wanted to make the statement, including Trevor Crowe, who went 4-5 at the plate today. Travis Hafner, down on a rehab assignment from the Indians, added three hits of his own.

And how has the reception been in Columbus for the Indians farmhands? “I think it’s a statewide thing,” Lovullo replied. “The fans have been great. The new stadium is beautiful. It was bittersweet leaving here but all in all we have great fan support and we have the Indians playing right next door and we can’t beat that situation.”

As for their new ballpark, Huntington Park, located in downtown Columbus’ Arena District. “We’re still working the kinks out. The last homestand I think we were 6 and 2. We’re looking forward to going back home after this road trip.”

As for this visit to Buffalo… “It was a bit awkward. Somewhat surreal,” said Lovullo. “I had some thoughts about what I wanted to do. I got here very early in the day. I didn’t want to be distracted. But I didn’t walk onto the field until 5 minutes before the game. I said a couple hellos at that point it was all about the game.”

The Buffalo-Columbus series continues with games Friday through Sunday at Coca Cola Field.

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