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A Magical All Star Week

At the end of a very long, exhausting and grueling week at Coca Cola Field, Bisons PR Director Brad Bisbing quietly said, “this was like planning four weddings” as he ushered the last of the players to the podium set up in the service level concourse for post game comments.

It’s hard for the average fan to fathom just how much goes into planning and executing an event of this magnitude. This is not an ordinary baseball game with the run of the mill “game ops” in action. The Bisons front office was dealing with two full houses of hungry and thirsty fans looking to be entertained, the planning and accommodation of national media, broadcast facilities, the presence of baseball executives and other VIPs, logistics for the actual players and coaches who are coming in from everywhere across the continent, two separate ancillary events, those being an All Star luncheon which was attended by close to 1000 guests, and an evening Gala for players and baseball peeps.

To say it went without a hitch might be too simplistic. Surely there had to be some glitches and some crisis somewhere during the three day event. But we never saw it. From the time the doors swung open at Coca Cola Field at 5:00pm Monday at the Home Run Derby to the finale of the fireworks show following Wednesday’s game, there was a special sense of awe and satisfaction that we here in Buffalo had been part of something truly special. Kind of like when the NCAA basketball tournament hits town or like when we got to host the World Juniors U20 hockey tournament last year.

Mike Buczkowski, the longtime Bisons VP and General Manager, shared with us last week that he never thought he’d be around for the 25th All Star Game when the first one took place in 1988. Yet here we all were, and although Buczkowski promised he wouldn’t be around for the 50th, we’re betting he will be back, and we hope to be here as well. See you in July, 2037 at Coca Cola Field!

AROUND THE BASES –

-The latest in cool videos which have graced the HD board at the ballpark featured baseball shots holographed and embedded onto the fascias of Buffalo landmarks and downtown skyscrapers. Director of Entertainment Matt LaSota promised it will get to You Tube eventually. When we get it, we’ll post it. The clip puts “Buffalo: For Real” to shame, trust us.

-How great was it to see former Bisons Manager Marty Brown back in town, this time as manager of the Pacific Coast League squad. Brown was thrilled to be back in Buffalo and genuinely looked it.

-Ahh the “Wing Cheese Celery” mascot race. For those of you following, Celery has never won a race, a series of futility going back to the beginning of last season when all this silliness got started. So lately, Celery hasn’t been racing, and we’ve seen vignettes of the mascot out and about training and lifting weights. The comeback came at the All Star Game, and pundits all predicted it would finally be Celery’s turn. Things looked good from the get go, and with the fans roaring their approval, Celery had nothing but daylight to the finish line But then Chip, one of the ubiquitous mascots, interfered by throwing water balloons at Celery, who fell into a heap 15 feet from glory. Fans booed, the media was outraged, Twitter blew up with comments and opinions, and we’re all left wondering what will come next.

-Biggest round of applause? Sure Va-Len-Ti-No was chanted most of the evening, and PCL pitchers were giving Pascucci free passes all night long to the dismay of many. But local product Jim Negrych of the Syracuse Chiefs came into the game late and was given a great ovation.

-Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and his “Hey kid get me a Coke” yarn. At the All Star luncheon he said it was Lou Brock, then later at the game he shared the story again with the press and said it was Willie Mays. We’re thinking this is all one tall tale.