A sundrenched ballpark, a great crowd, all the pageantry of a new season. Olympics champion Steve Mesler was on hand to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, which landed right over the plate in strike territory.
It was all good at Coca Cola Field with a paid attendance of 13,323, and the Buffalo Bisons did their part, beating the visiting Pawtucket Red Sox in the opening game of their three game set 8-2, to improve their record on the young season to 4-3.
The Bisons won today via the big inning, plating three runs in the second inning and then adding four in the sixth. Chris Carter’s booming in the gap double (he had two doubles on the day) was the back breaker, driving in Fernando Martinez and Ike Davis. Ruben Tejada added another RBI in the sixth with a soft line drive to the left hole.
Manager Ken Oberkfell admits that this season already has a different feel than last year, when the team had a horrific start enroute to a forgettable year. “We have a good mix of people here,” said Oberkfell. “I guess the big difference is our offense. We have guys here who are a threat. When they get to the plate they have the potential to do some damage and that’s what they are doing.”
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched all nine innings for the Herd, throwing a total of 112 pitches. “He was outstanding,” said Oberkfell. Dickey was also pleased with his outing, where conditions were perfect, despite the lack of wind. “I throw a firm knuckleball, which creates its own wind,’ said Dickey, who also gave praise to his defense for some sharp work. ‘It was top notch. Cervy (LF Mike Cervenak) was out there putting on a show, and we got great ground balls. Today I had a pretty good one.”
As for Thursday? The Bisons are doing a “Beat Boston x 2” instant promotion and it’s going to be a doozy. On the mound for Pawtucket will be Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is on an injury rehabilitation assignment. The team is offering $2 off any priced ticket for the 4:05 start, and 2 for 1 specials on hot dogs and cold beverages from 3PM to 5PM.
With the Sabres set to face off down the street at 7PM, what better a sports day could one ask for than a baseball/hockey doubleheader downtown!