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The Buffalo Bisons Take Fenway Park By Storm

Filed under: Sports

There seemed to be one common refrain among the players, the Bisons broadcasters, the front office staff, the Buffalo media contingent, and the fans from Buffalo who made the trip. Everyone was happy to be here, revelling in beautiful and historic Fenway Park, seeing the acronym “BUF” on display on the iconic hand operated scoreboard, and watching our minor league Buffalo Bisons play a game on one of the largest of stages in all of professional baseball.

It was the “Futures at Fenway”, a doubleheader featuring two minor league clubs in the Boston system playing for the home town fans. This year it was the Short-A Lowell Spinners and the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox doing their thing for the home town fans. When it was all said and done, both Boston clubs went down to defeat; the Spinners dropped a 6-5 decision to the Hudson Valley Renegades. and then the Buffalo Bisons, assisted by some strong defense and a gem of a game by starter Colin McHugh came up with a 2-0 shutout win over the PawSox.

Just another day at the office? “Nobody really made a big thing of it,” said Backman, stating that more than a few of his players have already appeared in the Bigs, and several having played at Fenway Park. “They really played good out there. Great defense, good pitching, timely hits. Can’t say enough about Colin McHugh. To see him go out there and pitch the way he did today. It was a well played game today.” Backman led the AA Binghamton Mets to a win in this very same event last year, and McHugh was the starting pitcher in that game as well.

Colin McHugh’s stock in the Mets organization surely went up a few notches. His two game record at Fenway Park is now 13 scoreless innings and only seven base hits allowed. And it was fortuitous luck of the rotation that even gave McHugh the opportunity to pitch at Fenway Park for the second year in a row. “It’s nice to come out and have a good showing, but at the end of the day it’s just another AAA game. But I felt that I showed and for me it’s what I expected.” McHugh thought someone was kidding with him when he was told he might be starting this game. “I though it was a joke at first. Someone in the clubhouse told me, and then I thought that if there were no cancellations or funky happenings I would get the call. It’s always good.”

Bisons broadcaster Pat Malacaro was all smiles.. After climbing up the baseball ladder with tasks such as reading out of town scores on the postgame show and calling games at Dwyer Stadium for the Batavia Muckdogs, Malacaro was in awe of his surroundings as he got to participate in the Bisons broadcast from the radio perch at Fenway. “If I never call another inning of play-by-play in my life, I can always say I called game action from Fenway Park. Absolutely incredible,” Malacaro posted on social networking. VP/General Manager Mike Buczkowski made sure to walk the entire ballpark, and was spotted taking photos from the Green Monster seats in left field. Public Relations Director Brad Bisbing was rushing about and tending to a myriad of game day duties, yet paused to experience the enormity of the feeling of standing right on the Fenway Park turf. And while most of the players acted like they were just doing the same routine, clearly there was a sparkle in the eyes and a spring in everyone’s step. “Good to be back. Good to be back,” said outfielder Matt Den Dekker as he sprinted out for warmups. Den Dekker also played in last year’s event as a member of the B-Mets. Josh Satin was among several of the players who patiently signed autographs for the throngs of youngsters leaning over the dugout. “This is crazy,” said Satin. Wally Backman was the most recognizable member of the Bisons, many fans calling him out by name, and he obliged by signing dozens of autographs right from the dugout.

The Buffalo Bisons will soon be bringing down the curtain on another disappointing season. But for one day, on this day, it was the magic of Fenway Park, the excitement of participating in a special event such as the Futures and Fenway, that made the experience truly extraordinary. Best of all, Buffalo traveled to Boston and emerged with a win. And in this day and age of dealing with the Tom Bradys and the Milan Lucics of the world, any win in Boston is a good thing.

Connor Danahy and Dan Britton of the Fenway Bills Backers join up with Artvoice columnist Peter Farrell at Bleachers Bar at Fenway Park for some good conversation and fellowship