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AV Podcast: Episode 2

podcast_squarePodcast Episode 2: August 19, 2015

In this weeks episode we speak with former Buffalo Bison’s pitcher Daniel Norris about why he spends his spring living in van down by the river. In our Food Feature we have breakfast with Dick and Jenny’s Co-owner Jennifer Benz and talk about how her family got a restart in WNY after Hurricane Katrina. Plus, Best of Buffalo winner, Christina Custode is in our local music spotlight.

Listen on iTunes and like what you hear? Please consider leaving us a rating to help spread the word!



Listen to Episode 2:

The Buffalist: Aug 17-23


“Life goes by so fast
You only want to do what you think is right.
Close your eyes and then it’s past;
Story of my life”

  “Story of My Life” -Social Distortion






 5.  Go to a damn Buffalo Bisons game (Aug 21-23)

(Still one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen)

Bisons games are a great cost-effective way to have a good time.  I know, I know.  Baseball isn’t for everyone.  Sometimes it can be downright boring.  If you are a baseball fan, this is just a reminder that we have great AAA baseball being played right here in our own city and Friday is Zombie Night/Friday Night Bash.  If you aren’t a baseball fan, I have good news.  We have a great AAA baseball team playing right here in our own city and you can get pretty hammered on the cheap there- transforming baseball into an edge of your seat spectacle.  Once you get inside, head up to Pettibones Grill where you can enjoy some relatively inexpensive drinks (not like Bills or Sabres games) and sit on the balcony to watch the game.  I went a few weeks ago on a beautiful Friday night and it was an absolute blast.  There aren’t many places left where you get 3+ hours of entertainment for 15 bucks, so get out and enjoy the summer tradition of Bisons baseball.  Seriously, when’s the last time you’ve been?

4. Party on the Portico @ The Buffalo History Museum (Aug 21)


The Buffalo History Museum will be hosting the 10th annual Party on the Portico this Friday.  The event features booze, door prizes, free appetizers, music (The Rockaz) and of course Buffalo history-related things to do.  There will be free 15 minute tours of the museum as well as the majestic views of Hoyt Lake and the surroundings to enjoy.  Plus, you can nerd out with other history buffs while drinking at a damn history museum.  Tickets are 5 bucks for members and 10 bucks for the rest. 

3. Brian Posehn @ Helium Comedy Club (Aug 20-22)

Comedy veteran Brian Posehn is coming to Buffalo this week and I highly recommend checking him out.  An original cast member and writer for the legendary Mr. Show with Bob and David, (did you know there are new episodes coming to Netflix??) Brian has gone on to play parts in dozens of TV shows and movies as well as releasing 3 comedy albums.  He was even in a Seinfeld episode, the one where Kramer acts like he has gonorrhea so medical students can determine his illness (okay he doesn’t play a big part in that but any excuse to watch a Seinfeld clip is a great thing).  He’s a true nerd comedy hero- if jokes about Star Wars and metal music are your thing, don’t miss this show. 

2.  7 Seconds @ Mohawk Place (Aug 21) 

I have been waiting a long time for this one.  Hardcore punk legends 7 Seconds will be playing Mohawk Place on Friday and holy shit I can’t believe I’m saying that.  One of the most influential punk bands of all time, 7 Seconds has been slaying faces with their positive brand of hardcore since 1980 (wikipedia says they actually coined the phrase “hardcore” calling themselves “hardcore new wave”).  I know the term “straight edge” gets a bad wrap, but back in the early 80’s bands like 7 Seconds and Minor Threat were deeply dedicated to living a mostly Spartan lifestyle that avoided drugs and alcohol to encourage youth to stay focused on making the world a better place.  That positivity bleeds through in the music, with singer Kevin Seconds belting out lyrics about unity and nonviolence.  The opportunity to see one of the most influential punk rock bands of all time at an intimate venue like Mohawk Place has me absolutely psyched.  Get your tickets soon as I guarantee there will be no tickets available at the door.

1.  Social Distortion @ Town Ballroom (Aug 18)

Few things could have me more pumped than seeing 7 Seconds, but this is one of those things.  I feel like I’ve been throwing the term “legend” around a lot for events this week, but man, Social Distortion is another seriously legendary act.  Formed in 1978 in California, “Social D” has put together an incredibly impressive career.  Punk/Rockabilly icon Mike Ness has come to exemplify the entire genres in a lot of respects, with his gravelly voice that combines the world weariness of Johnny Cash and the visceral immediacy of Sid Vicious.  They’ve released 7 full length albums, including the essential Mommy’s Little Monster and their self titled 3rd album that features “Ball and Chain” and the above “Story of My Life.”  They are also emblazoned in punk history as being a part of the fascinating rock documentary Another State of Mind that features a young and precocious Social Distortion and LA’s Youth Brigade on their first tour.  I saw Social D last year at a festival and they were basically tiny little Lego people at the end of a sea of thousands of people, so the chance to see them at Town Ballroom is pretty exciting.  It is currently sold out, so keep checking craigslist for updates.  That’s where I was able to get my ticket.  Good luck and see you there!   


Other notable Events:  Rumble in the Belt @ Mohawk Place (Aug 22), Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Artpark (Aug 18), The Tins @ Bidwell Park (Aug 18)

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!

You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well for Buffalo event updates.


A fresh new look at Coca Cola Field

Crews taking advantage of the fabulous fall weather to continue installation of 3300 new seats at the downtown ballpark

Crews taking advantage of the fabulous fall weather to continue installation of 3300 new seats at the downtown ballpark

In late summer, the Buffalo Bisons announced the first step in what will eventually be a remake of Coca Cola Field would be implemented during this offseason. Up first, the replacement of some of the seats in the stadium’s seating bowl, which have been in place since the facility opened in 1988. Today the team opened up the ballpark for the first sneak peek at the new look seating bowl.

Gone are all the old red seats in the area known as the “special reserved” section on the 100 level, representing about 25% of the seating capacity in the stadium, and they have been replaced by brand new kelly green seats which are wider and roomier than the old seating. The concrete base has been sealed and repainted, giving this area of the ballpark a fresh new look. The cost of this project, approximately $750,000, was funded via a capital improvements allocation from the stadium’s owner, the City of Buffalo.

The plan is to eventually replace all fixed seats in the ballpark, which just by doing the math based on the costs of this initial phase, should run somewhere in the $2.5-million range. But there are bigger plans in the works. “We’re working with our architects, Populous, to develop a new master plan to transform this ballpark over the next few years,” says Bisons Public Relations Director Brad Bisbing. “Our objective won’t be to catch up with what has been done in other ballparks, but to be the trend setter in terms of design, features and amenities. What that will eventually be will be fun to watch unfold.”bisons2011

The stadium will be starting its 28th year of operation in just 149 days when the Buffalo Bisons open the 2015 season of baseball. The team has made its own private contribution to enhancements at the ballpark in recent years, including new player training facilities and batting cages, a field drainage system, upgraded lighting and sound systems, and most notably for the fans, a spectacular new high definition scoreboard, one of the finest in all of minor league baseball.

Bisbing was unable to come up with a firm number for what will be the new stadium capacity, which has been 18,025 in recent years. “We’re still tweaking some other areas of the ballpark, but we removed 3700 of the old seats and replaced them with 3300 new ones, so the new number will fall somewhere in the mid 17,000 range.”

Mayor Byron Brown just released his 2015 capital improvements budget for the city, and in that budget $1-million has been allocated for the stadium. How that money is spent remains to be determined. But one thing is for certain – Coca Cola Field will be taking a new and different shape in coming years, adding to the momentum and energy happening downtown and at Canalside. Stay tuned.


Bisons update – what a week at Coca Cola Field

It’s a shame that the weather has been so unsettled and so cold that more people didn’t experience the recent home stand at Coca Cola Field.

The Buffalo Bisons hit the road tomorrow for eight games, and they will be flying out of Buffalo on cloud nine, after going 7-1 on the just finished home stand against the Louisville Bats and the Charlotte Knights. The team toyed with a no-hitter thanks to the fabulous pitching of Marcus Stroman, got solid pitching from the rest of the rotation, clutch hitting from several hot bats in the Bisons lineup, including outfielder Kevin Pillar, and veritable eye candy of defensive plays, including four gems just this afternoon from newly demoted seconded baseman Ryan Goins.

“Winning is infectious, when things are going well it feeds on itself,” said Manager Gary Allenson. He has had to deal with several roster moves during the week, and Stroman was called to Toronto on Saturday night to help fill a depleted and struggling bullpen with the big club.

Stroman’s performance on Tuesday night was nothing short of amazing. He struck out 10 batters through 6 innings, and at one point retired 16 straight batters. When he left the mound after the 6th, he was still looking strong out there, and visions of a possible no hitter, which has only occurred once at the downtown ballpark (Bartolo Colon, 1997), were being thought about. Sadly, Stroman never got the chance. He was lifted by manager Allenson, most likely due to pitch count concerns and his imminent promotion to Toronto which had to limit his performance.

On Saturday, it was Kevin Pillar doing the heroics. The Bisons won in come from behind fashion, 6-5, with a walk off triple with no outs in the bottom of the 9th plating two runs. “Who doesn’t like to win in that fashion?” said a beaming Pillar, who was mobbed by his teammates after the game winning hit. “I never even considered the bunt sign,” said Allenson, who had runners at first and second an no outs. “I told Pillar, go out there and be a hero.” And after fouling off several pitches, Pillar did just that, launching a towering ball to right center field which split the defenders.

It was more of the same on Sunday. Buffalo and Charlotte were tied at 3 in the 8th inning. Darin Mastroianni and Ryan Goins did back to back singles which each drove in the go ahead two runs. Bobby Korecky pitched perfect 9th, and just like that, the Bisons had themselves their first sweep of Charlotte at home since 2004.

“What was it, 28 degrees out there?” quipped Allenson as he remarked about the unusually cold weather. “I think it’s going to be 87 in Gwinnett tomorrow.”

Good weather and warm temperatures might be a good tonic for The Herd as they travel to Gwinnett, Georgia and then the new ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina. But the way they played this past week, right now they look unstoppable. They are in first place in the International League North Division.


April 2014
26 vs. Louisville, W 6-2 (WP: S. Nolin; LP: T. Crabbe; SV: B. Korecky)
27 vs. Louisville, L 1-2 (WP: C. Wang; LP: G. Infante; SV: J. Diaz)
28 vs. Louisville, W 17-5 (WP: K. Drabek; LP: C. Reineke)
29 vs. Louisville, W 4-1 (WP: M. Stroman; LP: J. Francis; SV: N. Wagner)

May 2014
1 vs. Charlotte, W 6-1 (WP: L. Hendriks; LP: T. Hanson)
2 vs. Charlotte, W 1-0 (WP: A. Bibens-Dirkx; LP: D. Veal)
3 vs. Charlotte, W 6-5 (WP: R. Tepera; LP: D. Purcey)
4 vs. Charlotte, W 5-3 (WP: J. Stilson; LP: M. Boggs; SV: B. Korecky)

Bisons split with PawSox, Francisco new secret weapon

franciscoYesterday at Coca Cola Field, the Buffalo Bisons had just tied the game at five with the Pawtucket Red Sox in the bottom of the 9th. There were runners on second and third with two outs, and Bisons’ first baseman Juan Francisco was stepping to the plate.

So what did the PawSox do? They intentionally walked Francisco. The gambit worked, the PawSox got out of the inning, and would eventually win the game 7-5 in 12 innings to earn the split of the four game series.

So who exactly is Juan Francisco?

Just some guy the Blue Jays picked up off the waiver wire. The Jays claimed him on April 1, after Spring Training had broken up, and assigned him to the Buffalo Bisons. Francisco has been a terror since coming to the club, and although it’s very early, so far he has posted a .406 batting average with two home runs. On Friday night at the ballpark, he came up a home run short of batting for the cycle.

Any comparisons to Jim Negrych? Last year’s second base phenm maintained a batting average well over .400 throughout more than half of the season before slowing down in the dog days of summer.

Manager Gary Allenson was clearly agitated following yesterday’s loss, looking at the PawSox series and realizing that his team most likely could have swept all four games. Thursday’s outing was tough; the team played a doubleheader the night before in Lehigh Valley, one of the two games went extra innings, and finishing right around midnight, then had to endure a seven hour bus ride home throughout the night. After Sunday’s game, Allenson groused “I looked up at the scoreboard in the 11th inning, and I saw only three base hits. We didn’t make good adjustments with the bats today.”

The Bisons now move on for four games against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, affiliate of the New York Yankees. Tonight’s “Markdown Monday” should be played in summer like conditions, with a front moving through that will chill things significantly for Tuesday night. It’s a 6:05pm start time Monday through Wednesday, with a 1:05pm matinee to end the home stand on Thursday.

Watching the big boys in Buffalo – J.A. Happ

ja_happ.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxGetting the opportunity to get a glimpse of the major league players play for the minor league team as part of an injury rehabilitation can be an extra special treat when going to Buffalo Bisons games. Unfortunately, only about 200 hardy fans were in the stands on a blustery and windy night in downtown Buffalo tonight to see Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ in a Bisons uniform.

Happ has gone through two injury stints over the past 12 months. This one is trying to comeback from back spasms which has forced him down to Buffalo to get back in the groove. Playing against the Pawtucket Red Sox, he threw 90 pitches, allowing one run and getting six strikeouts. He got the no decision in what eventually turned out to be a 7-4 loss by the Bisons.

“He’s in his second year of pro ball,” said Manager Gary Allenson tonight. “He’s got really good stuff. I’d be the kind of guy to keep on him, just to keep him focused.”

Happ met with the media after his stint was done, and while the game itself was still unfolding on the field. He had one previous start, at the single A level, and it is uncertain when he might pitch again. “I feel I’ve ready to take it to the next step and try to get the big league hitters out,” Happ said. Happ refused to comment when asked if he would be comfortable taking an assignment in the bullpen once he returns to Toronto, insisting that he has been focused on being in the starting rotation.

The Bisons continue their homestand against Pawtucket throughout the weekend, with the first Fridaynightbash set for a 6:05 PM start on Friday, then 1:05pm starts both on Saturday and Sunday.

Coming to the ballpark: new sound, LED boards

More exciting changes are coming to Coca Cola Field, the home of the AAA baseball Buffalo Bisons, as the team announced today two significant capital improvements to the 27 year old ballpark to enhance the fan and visitor experience.

Two new LED boards will be added to the club level balconies, to be placed at the 1st base and 3rd base sides. The 50′ x 2.5′ ribbon boards are manufactured by Daktronics using state of the art pixel technology. The boards will feature a time of day clock, a constant line score and also feature additional promotional messages as well as out of town baseball scores.

Additionally, the team is installing a 120 speaker sound system throughput the ballpark. In the past all sound was emitted from central speakers placed in the center field scoreboard, which caused a decrease in sound quality at times, especially during windy conditions. The new system was manufactured by Cannon Design.

The current dot matrix panels along the balcony as well as the current sound system have both been in place since the ballpark opened in 1988.

The Buffalo Bisons and their owners Bob and Mindy Rich are privately funding these new venue enhancements, which carry a price tag of over $225,000. Since the downtown ballpark opened, the Bisons have invested over $23,000,000 in capital improvements to the publicly owned venue.

The Bisons will hold a public open house on Saturday, March 8, from noon to 3pm, which will include all sorts of games for the youngsters, tours of behind the scenes facilities such as the clubhouse and press box, and a chance to take a hack or two in the Bisons indoor batting cages. Visitors are invited to sample a ballpark hot dog and soda, and the event is free and open to the public.

Graphic rendition courtesy

Graphic rendition courtesy

The Bisons have a new manager

BisonsThere were more than a few raised eyebrows late last year, when the highly respected and popular manager of the Buffalo Bisons, Marty Brown, abruptly announced that he was leaving the Toronto Blue Jays organization and not returning to Buffalo to manage the Bisons in 2014.

Brown had quite a following here in Buffalo and was very well liked within the Bisons’ organization. He led Buffalo to its last league championship back in 2004, when the Bisons won the International League Governors Cup. Last year, on his return to Buffalo, his team fell just short of qualifying for the postseason playoffs, yet hopes are still high that the team would take that next step and return to the postseason for the first time since 2005.

Enter Gary Allenson.

Allenson will be starting his 20th season as a manager at the minor league level, eight of those years spent in the International League. Last season, he managed the Blue Jays’ AA affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was introduced to the media, and then to the public, at the Bisons’ annual Hot Stove Luncheon at the Adams Mark Hotel downtown on Thursday.

“It’s a great league. It’s a competitive league, and it’s a tougher league than that other league (the PCL),” said Allenson. “It’s a man’s league and I’m happy to be here.”

For the Bisons, Allenson will have a strong familiarity with many of his roster players, some of whom played for him at AA last season. Toronto Blue Jays VP and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos was also on hand, and promised that the Buffalo team should be well stocked going into 2014. “I think we have a stronger roster here than last year,” said Anthopoulos, who is still dealing with the crushing disappointment of last years’ results at the big league level when expectations for Toronto were red hot.

Allenson readily admitted that he knows he has some big shoes to fill in replacing Marty Brown, also stating that he had little interaction with his fellow manager, other than on the phone discussions regarding things such as player call ups and individual player issues. “He was in big league camp, and I talked with him on the phone I would deal with player performance, that sort of thing. He’s a class guy. He’s a baseball man and has been in baseball for a while. I don’t know the reason why things didn’t work out and why he left but he’s a good man as far as I know.”

Buffalo will open their 27th year of professional baseball downtown at Coca Cola Field on Thursday, April 4 vs the Rochester Red Wings. Opening Day is just 76 days away.

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