Toronto Blue Jays Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Buffalo Bisons
I was fortunate enough to make the short trek across the border and up the I-90 to catch a Buffalo Bisons game this past afternoon as they hosted the Washington Nationals affiliate from Syracuse. With a plethora of outlet malls along the way Mrs. Baseball Hot Corner happily rode shot gun for the trip to Coca-Cola Field.
The first pitch was slated for 1 p.m with the weather co-operating for the matinee affair, a game that featured no real blue-chip prospects but did feature some players who have had cups of coffee in the show like Kevin Pillar and Brad Glenn on the Bisons side and Tyler Moore and Steven Souza representing the Chiefs.
I was impressed right off the hop with the "Play Ball" promotion the Bisons offered online that saw me score a nights accommodations at the Adam's Mark hotel, free parking and two tickets for $119 bucks. My apprehension in regards to the price of the lodging was quelled instantly upon arrival.
The ball park is a short ten minute walk if you dare take your cell-phone off airplane mode for directions which I did, more money in Rogers pocket which will be spent on the NHL rather the MLB team. Not bitter at all
Once we arrived at the gates, I had to exchange my ticket coupon from the hotel for the actual hard-copy tickets. We received complimentary tickets in Section 126, Row "Q" just past the first base dugout which also happens to be the home teams dugout. I asked the ticket salesman if I should upgrade seeing the most expensive ticket in the ball-park is around $13 big ones. However, he candidly told me to save my money as the game was not a sellout and that I could move freely move around the stadium and occupy an empty seat which I did when the 100 YMCA inner youth group kids circled my section.
Once inside I internally mapped where the beer was being sold and Mrs. BHC and I made our way to the Bisons store to spend some hard earned cash. I picked up a Bisons cap while the wifey scored a stylish, form-fitting Jays t-shirt. The prices in the store were reasonable and still much cheaper than the wallet gouging Jays Shop.
I then had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with an older gentleman who was an usher at the park. The guy was an absolute gem to speak with, recommending the famous roast beef on a bun and commenting on the bus trips they take to Toronto to see the big club. He also mentioned that Friday night at Coco-Cola Field featured fireworks and $3 beers, not a typo folks. The thought crossed my mind to stay an extra night for the cheap pints but that would have meant an extra day of shopping for the Mrs.
I worked up quite a thirst being a social-butterfly and decided it was time to break the bank on some adult beverages. However, I was pleasantly surprised when a regular size beer were selling for just over $5 bucks, so much of a savings I splurged on the 25 ounce $8 king-can, still miles cheaper than 1 Blue Jays Way.
The food prices were reasonable charging $3.50 for a hot dog and $5 bucks for a sausage loaded with sauteed peppers, water and cola were in the $3 dollar range making the trip absolutely affordable for a family to attend, I should point out that I left my "diamond divas" north of the border.
The game itself featured more prize-themed promotions and contests for the fans between innings than you can shake a stick at. The field was immaculate and pristine like poised to harness dreams and failure all in the same breath.
Oh, what about the game!
The Bisons pulled out a 3-1 victory for the 9,583 fans on the strength of a strong outing by Raul Valdes and some timely hitting.
Don't get me wrong folks, I love the the retractable slab of concrete and the 25 bird-laden players within it but the Rogers Centre could benefit from a trip to Buffalo where a minor league team is putting on a major league show at minor league prices.
If you haven't been, you really should. Great experience
Game Related Observations:
- 36-year old Raul Valdes looked good commanding all his pitches while surrendering only 3 hits and fanning 5 over 7 innings.
-Tim Raines was on the bench dressed in Blue Jays attire yucking it up with players and singing autographs for fans.
-Tyler Moore hit a bomb off Bobby Korecky in the 9th that would be half way to Canada had it not hit the left-field screen.
-Mike McDade moves well and is a slick fielder for a big man.
-Brad Glenn is a big man in person.
-Brett Wallace looks lost and frustrated at the plate.
-Steve Delabar was not impressive in an inning of work, zero runs but hit hard and hit a batter, not fooling anyone even here.
-Kevin Nolan has some skill and could be MLB ready by mid-next season.
- No Sergio Santos sighting but I did see Kyle Drabek and Chad Jenkins.
-A handful of scouts in attendance as is par for the course, seemed interested with the guns on Delabar.
-Bisons play home games in first base dugout, Jays play on third base side.
-On a final note Land Shark beer should be available in Canada.