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Audio: Great moments from the Bisons career of Greg Tubbs

Tubbs
Greg Tubbs (Buffalo Bisons photo)

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to check out my story in Wednesday's editions on former Bisons outfielder Greg Tubbs, who will be inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame prior to Friday night's game in Coca-Cola Field.

Tubbs -- who played for the Bisons in 1991, 1992 and 1994 -- runs an indoor hitting academy and is an assistant high school baseball coach in Cookeville, Tenn.

"Being around these kids has kept me young and I love being able to give the same advice that some of Hall of Famers gave me," Tubbs (left) told me this week. "Our kids love being able to hit and our high school program has benefitted from it. I had a good career, a great time in the game and I finally got an opportunity to show I could play on the highest level,

"This hall of fame in Buffalo is really icing on the cake. This is the last thing everybody in their career wants in some way and I'm getting this opportunity. It's really a storybook situation for me."

As noted in the article, Tubbs is the answer to a couple of unique Bisons trivia questions and we can recreate the events through audio archives provided by former announcer Pete Weber.

1. Playing center field, Tubbs caught the final out of Buffalo's back-to-back American Association Eastern Division clinchers at Pilot Field -- a 6-4 win over Louisville in 1991 and a 3-1 win over Nashville in 1992.

Listen to those below:

Tubbs' final out in 1991

Tubbs' final out in 1992

2. Tubbs was also the batter who lined a two-run double into the left-field corner in Denver in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the '91 Association finals. The Bisons entered the frame getting no-hit and trailing, 9-0. They had six runs in and Tubbs drove in runs 7 and 8 -- but Greg Edge was called out at the plate and Buffalo lost, 9-8.

Listen to the most controversial finish in franchise history here:

Edge out in 1991

Tubbs had a great series against Denver even though Buffalo lost the series in five games. He homered in back-to-back 4-1 wins over the Zephyrs in Pilot Field as Buffalo took a short-lived 2-0 lead in the series. Here's his homer in Game Two:

Playoff HR in 1991

Be sure to look for my other Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame stories this week, focusing on longtime scout Bob Miske on Thursday and former manager Eric Wedge on Friday.

Herd's Johnson picked for Triple-A Home Run Derby

Belt
The Durham Bulls unveiled this belt to go to the HR Derby champion. (DurhamBulls.com)


By Mike Harrington

Buffalo Bisons slugger Dan Johnson, who has played every game this season, has been named one of the six participants in the Triple-A Home Run Derby to be held Monday night in Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Johnson will also start for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game hosted by Durham next Wednesday.

Johnson will hit for the IL team that also includes Toledo's Mike Hessman and Columbus' Jesus Aguilar. Hessman recently hit his 259th career homer in the IL to break the all-time mark set by 1930s Bisons slugger Ollie Carnegie.

Johnson is batting .251 with team highs of 17 homers and 54 RBIs for the Bisons. This will be his third derby. He won the 2010 edition at Lehigh Valley while competing for Durham as part of his IL MVP season. In 2012 at Coca-Cola Field while competing for Charlotte, he lost in the finals to Bisons designated hitter Valentino Pascucci.

The Pacific Coast League team will feature Las Vegas' Allan Dykstra, the MVP of the Double-A Eastern League last year for the Binghamton Mets, Reno's Mike Jacobs and Omaha's Francisco Pena, son of Yankees bench coach and Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Pena.

Hessman, who has participated in three previous derbies, and Jacobs are both former Bisons. Hessman, then with Oklahoma City, joined Johnson in taking part in the 2012 derby in Buffalo. Hessman had nine homers in the first round but was eliminated in the semifinals.

In addition to the championship belt pictured above, players will be batting to win money and prizes for fans in attendance if they hit a home run off the famous snorting bull above the left-field wall at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, made famous in the 1988 film "Bull Durham."

The pitcher for the final round will be 76-year-old North Carolina resident Clay Council, who earned some fame as Josh Hamilton's pitcher during his 28-homer binge at the 2008 MLB HR Derby in old Yankee Stadium.

Bisons host RailRiders in Independence Eve game

By Taylor Nigrelli

In what has become a popular tradition locally, the Buffalo Bisons will host their annual Independence Eve game tonight, complete with the season's largest post-game fireworks display and a performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

As of this morning, only 3000 tickets were available for the game.

The 20th edition of Independence Eve will feature a matchup against the struggling Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (40-46). The Herd (45-40) took the first two games of a five-game set with 1-0 and 3-1 wins yesterday in a double-header.

The Bisons may be a little fatigued heading into tonight’s matchup as four of the team’s past six contests have gone into extra innings.

Esmil Rogers (2-1, 3.10), who’s spent time in both Toronto and Buffalo this year, will get the start for the Bisons. Chris Leroux (1-2, 7.94) is expected to get the call for the Railriders.

The Herd will be looking to build on a recent hot streak that’s seen the team win five of its past seven games.

Tonight’s starting lineup:

Kenny Wilson – LF
Ryan Goins – 2B
Kevin Pillar – CF
Dan Johnson – 1B
Erik Kratz – DH
A.J. Jimenez – C
Ryan Schimpf – RF
Andy LaRoche – 3B
Jonathan Diaz - SS

Fewer than 3,000 tickets left for tonight's Bisons Independence Eve game

By Keith McShea

The Buffalo Bisons told The News this morning that fewer than 3,000 tickets remain for tonight's Independence Eve game. 

The 20th annual event features the team's largest fireworks show of the season along with a performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. 

The gates will open at 4:30 p.m. for the 6:05 game with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. 

All tickets cost $24 and are available by calling THE-HERD at 843-4373, by visiting the Coca-Cola Field Box Office or via bisons.com

The Bisons swept a doubleheader against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Wednesday, 1-0 and 2-1. The Bisons are 45-40 in the International League's North Division, 5-1/2 games behind first-place Syracuse. Esmil Rogers (2-1, 3.10) of the Bisons starts against Chris Leroux (1-2, 7.94).

The musical program for tonight's event is available here.

Doubleheader day for the Bisons

by Amy Moritz

The Buffalo Bisons return to Coca-Cola Field after splitting a four-game series in Syracuse. But here's the thing -- three of those games went to extra innings.

The Herd won the opener, 7-6, in 13 innings. After being blanked the second night, 7-0, they played two more extra-inning games -- a 5-4 loss in 11 and a 5-4 win in 10 last night.

The pitching staff hopes there isn't more of the same tonight. Not with a doubleheader on deck.

Buffalo and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will play two seven-inning games, to make up a game lost due to snow and cold back on April 15.

Here's what you need to know:

All-Stars: The Bisons had three players elected to the International League All-Star team. Dan Johnson, who is playing in his 84th game with the Herd tonight, leads the league in home runs (16) and walks (69). Liam Hendriks is 6-1 with a 2.13 ERA. He has the fewest walks (0.59) and baserunners (8.61) per nine innings in the IL. Bobby Korecky has 10 saves in 11 chances. He has allowed just 26 hits while striking out 42 in 44 2/3 innings.

Tonight's starters: P.J. Walters will make his third start of the season in the first game. He is 2-0 and as allowed just one earned run in each outing with the Bisons since his promotion from Double-A on June 21.

Raul Valdes makes his second start for the Herd. He picked up the win in his last spot start, giving up two runs in five innings on June 21 against Rochester.

Ticket alert: As of 3:30 p.m. there were about 3,500 tickets left for the Independence Eve Celebration. The 20th annual event features a performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic and Chorus after the game along with the largest fireworks display of the year. Gates open at 4:30 for the 6:05 p.m. first pitch.

Tonight's Game 1 starting lineup:

Ryan Goins -- 2B
Jared Goedert -- DH
Kevin Pillar -- CF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
A.J. Jimenez -- C
Ryan Schimpf -- RF
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Kenny Wilson -- LF
Jonathan Diaz -- SS

 

Bisons close out homestand against Clippers

by Amy Moritz

Zombie Night is an appropriate way to close out a busy homestand for the Buffalo Bisons. They polish off eight games in nine days (including a rain delay and 13-inning game) with a fridaynightbash! against the Columbus Clippers at Coca-Cola Field (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520).

The Bisons are 6-2 on this homestand, having their five-game winning streak snapped with a forgettable 9-0 loss to Clippers Thursday afternoon.

Starting pitchers: P.J. Walters gets his second start for the Herd since his June 21st promotion from the Double-A FisherCats. He won his debut on Sunday, giving up one run on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Walters was part of the trade in May with Kansas City which brought Melky Mesa to the Toronto Blue Jays in May.

Kyle Davies starts for the Clippers. His last game was against Buffalo in Columbus where he gave up two runs (but none were earned) in a 6-2 win.

Hot hitters: Andy LaRoche is on an eight-game hitting streak, raising his batting average 70 points by going 14 of 28 since June 13. During the streak he has three doubles, two home runs and has driven in seven runs.

Adron Chambers is batting .325 in 12 games with the Bisons while Kevin Pillar's 21 doubles rank second in the International League. Darin Mastroianni has a .389 on-base percentage when he leads off an inning, and he's batting top of the order today.

Transactions: You didn't think we'd go two straight days with any roster moves did you? Jonathan Diaz cleared waivers after being designated for assignment and is available for the Herd tonight. Austin Bibens-Dirkxs was promoted from the FisherCats. Meanwhile reliever John Stilson and catcher Hector Gimenez were placed on the disabled list.

Tonight's Bisons' lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- RF
Adron Chambers -- LF
Kevin Pillar -- CF
Dan Johnson -- DH
Jared Goedert -- 1B
A.J. Jimenez -- C
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Schimpf -- 2B
Ryan Goins -- SS

Bisons look to extend five-game win streak

by Amy Moritz

It was a long, late night at Coca-Cola Field, but the Buffalo Bisons will gladly take the results.

The Herd earned two wins over the Columbus Clippers Wednesday. First, it was a 5-4 win in 13 innings with the completion of Tuesday's suspended game. Once that marathon was over, the Herd came back for a 3-2 win in a scheduled seven inning game.

It was the fifth straight win for the Herd who have won eight of their last nine. The only problem is that Syracuse keeps winning, too. The Chiefs are on an eight-game winning streak and hold a 7 1/2 game lead on the Bisons in the International League North Division.

While we get some extra coffee, the Herd is ready for a 1:05 first pitch with the Clippers (Radio 15200.

Some items of interest:

  • Deck McGuire gets his seventh start with the Herd. The Triple-A rookie has struck out 27 batters in 34 innings and is 3-2 with a 5.03 ERA. That earned run averge drops to 3.60 in his three starts at Coca-Cola Field.
  • Kevin Pillar's .325 average ranks fourth in the IL while his 21 doubles rank second. In his last 17 games with Buffalo, Pillar has 11 doubles and nine multi-hit games.
  • Reliever Mike Zagurski has been impressive since joining the Bisons May 30 after signing as a free agent. He has not allowed a hit in his last four appearances and has held opponents to a .111 average.

This afternoon's Bisons' lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Adron Chambers -- LF
Kevin Pillar -- RF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Jared Goedert -- 3B
A.J. Jimenez -- DH
Ryan Schimpf -- 2B
Erik Kratz -- C
Ryan Goins -- SS

Bisons win opener in 13 innings

by Amy Moritz

Well that was an intersting start to the baseball day.

It took 13 innings for the Buffalo Bisons to pull out a 5-4 win over the Columbus Clippers at Coca-Cola Field.

The game was picked up in the bottom of the fourth inning after it was suspended Tuesday night as storms moved through Western New York.

With the game tied, 4-4, Darin Mastroianni drew a one-out walk and then stole second. He scored on the hit from Adron Chambers, who had been 0-for-6 before driving in the winning.

Columbus which got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lea din the fifth.

In the sixth Scott Barnes walked three straight Bison batters. A slow grounder to first from A.J. Jimenez scored one run. After intentionally walking Andy LaRoche, Ryan Goins smoked a shot just out of the reach of the Clippers’ shortstop allowing two more runs to score.

The Clippers tied the game in the eighth, getting to reliever Steve Delabar. An All-Star last season, the Toronto Blue Jays optioned him to Buffalo on June 20 hoping he can regain that all-star form.

It was his first outing as a Bison and he gave up two runs on two hits with a walk in 1 2/3 innings of work. Both runs came in the eighth and knotted the game, 1-1.

The Herd regained the lead in the bottom of the inning, starting with one out back-to-back singles from LaRoche and Goins. Ryan Schimpf drove a ball deep to right and LaRoche scored on the sacrifice for a 4-3 lead.

But Bobby Korecky gave up an uncharacteristic run in the ninth. With two outs and a runner on second he issued a walk. Then a single from Tim Fedroff tied the game, 4-4. It was the third run Korecky has given up all year.

And now on to the main event: Aaron Sanchez on the mound for the Bisons against Danny Salazar for the Clippers in a scheduled seven-inning game. Start time is scheduled for 9:35.

The Bisons lineup for Game 2:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Adron Chambers -- LF
Kevin Pillar -- RF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
A.J. Jimenez -- DH
Ryan Schimpf -- 2B
Erik Kratz -- C
Ryan Goins -- SS

The Freak baffles Padres for season's third no-hitter

By Mike Harrington

PHILADELPHIA -- So while I'm writing hockey, talking soccer and sitting watching the Phillies-Marlins game (you'll understand the cross-sport references once you read my column on the NHL draft in Thursday's editions..cheap plug alert), there's a lot of buzz here about Tim Lincecum after the Giants pitcher no-hit the punchless Padres for the second time in two years.

The Giants won the game, 4-0, with Lincecum coming within a walk of a perfect game. The Padres entered the contest batting just .182 in June and didn't come close to a hit.

Here's MLB.com's quick turnaround on its standard all-27-outs feature of no-hitters. Great stuff:

Glenn goes up, Pillar comes down

by Amy Moritz

When we last left Coca-Cola Field, Brad Glenn was at bat with one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the fourth of a scoreless affair between the Buffalo Bisons and the Columbus Clippers.

The storms came. The game was suspended.

And lots of other stuff changed.

Glenn earned his first Major League promotion being called up by the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon.

Kevin Pillar was sent back to Buffalo and will take Glenn's spot in the lineup. His demotion came after an outburst in the Blue Jays dugout Tuesday night. Pillar had started the game in right field batting eighth for the Jays. He was pinch hit for (by Anthony Gose) in the eighth inning. At the time no one said much. He was 0 for 3 and the Jays and Yankees were tied, 6-6.

Gregor Chisholm, reporter for MLB.com, tweeted today that he went back and watched video after Pillar was pulled. "Pillar tossed his bat into the tunnel. Not violently, but he tossed it," Chisholm tweeted. 

"A few seconds later, Pillar was at the other end of the bench having a conversation with Gibbons."

Meanwhile to make room for Glenn on the 40-man roster shortstop Jonathan Diaz was designated for assignment. That means he can't play for the Herd until he clears waivers (72 hours) and Ryan Schimpf will take his spot when the game resumes.

A few notes:

  • John Stilson will be on the mound for the Herd as the game resumes while Tyler Sturdevant will be on for Columbus.
  • The first game resumes with one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the fourth. The game will be played through nine innings.
  • The second game, which features the much-anticipated pitching matchup between Aaron Sanchez and Danny Salazar, will start approximately 30 minutes after the first game concludes. That game is now scheduled for seven innings.

Hendriks back with the Herd

by Amy Moritz

When last the baseball world saw Liam Hendriks on the mound he was part of one freaking weird game.

It was June 20 and he was in Cincinnati to make a spot start for the Toronto Blue Jays. His performance was forgettable. He didn't make it through two innings, giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings of work en route to the Reds taking an 8-0 lead.

But Hendriks was off the hook as the Blue Jays staged a dramatic comeback for a 14-9 win.

Hendriks has fared much better with the Bisons. He is tied for the International League lead in ERA with 1.92 and ranks first in WHIP with 0.87. He makes is 11th start for the Bisons tonight (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520) as the Herd opens a four-game series with the Columbus Clippers at Coca-Cola Field.

The pitching rotation promises an interesting matchup on Wednesday with Toronto's top prospect Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 6.00) looking for his first Triple-A win in his third start with the Herd. Columbus is scheduled to counter with Danny Salazar (1-4, 6.35). 

The 24-year old Salazar worked up the Cleveland Indians chain last year and started the season with the Tribe before being sent down to Triple-A.

At 5:17 p.m. there is sunshine, blue sky and puffy white clouds above Coca-Cola Field but the forecast on The Weather Channel app has lots of orange alerts. Stay tuned for delays and possible changes in the pitching rotation should we encounter delays or doubleheaders.

In the meantime, here is tonight's scheduled starting lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Adron Chambers -- LF
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Brad Glenn -- RF
A.J. Jimenez -- C
Andy LaRoche -- DH
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Jonathan Diaz -- SS

Pete Weber & Kevin Lester talk 'Buffalo's Grand Old Game' on Fan590 in Toronto

By Mike Harrington

In the wake of Sunday's Inside Baseball column on the 30th anniversary of Buffalo's Grand Old Game, former Bisons announcer Pete Weber and Williamsville South AD/Bisons scorer/NY Knights & American League catcher Kevin Lester appeared late Monday night on the Jeff Sammut show on Sportsnet590 The FAN, the all-sports giant in Toronto.

Click below to hear the segment and, in case you missed them, here are the links to our blog entries this week featuring Weber's audio clips from the game:

Post 1 featuring audio and a YouTube

Post 2 featuring audio of Buffalo broadcast legend Stan Barron

Pillar and Gose saunter back up the QEW

by Amy Moritz

Injuries in Toronto mean roster moves in Buffalo.

As anticipated outfielders Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose were recalled to the Blue Jays with Brett Lawrie going on the disabled list with a broken finger and Jose Bautista out of the lineup for a few days with a left hamstring strain.

Gose is starting in right field and batting ninth for the Blue Jays tonight as they host the New York Yankees. Former Bison Marcus Stroman is on the mound.

Back in Buffalo, catcher Erik Kratz was optioned to the Herd.The Bisons also announced the pitchers Liam Hendriks and Steve Delabar were activated. Both were optioned by Toronto on June 20. Hendriks is scheduled to start for the Herd on Tuesday.

Reliever Austin Bibens-Dirkz was transferred back to Double-A New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, there's a game to be played in Buffalo as the Herd closes out the five-game in four-days series with the Rochester Red Wings (7:05 p.m., TWC, Radio 1520).

  • Esmil Rogers makes his third start for the Herd. He is 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA and has 21 strikeouts in 19 innings of work.
  • Brad Glenn has a seven-game hitting streak. Since June 17 the outfielder is batting .462 and has driven in eight runs. In his 29 games with the Bisons, Glenn has hit safely in 25 of them.
  • Because it's the Thruway Cup, we offer this look at the standings: Buffalo is 8-6 and now tied with Syracuse (9-7) for first place in the standings. Rochester is 5-9 and three games back of the three-team competition.

Tonight's Bison's lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Adron Chambers -- LF
Jared Goedert -- 1B
Dan Johnson -- DH
Brad Glenn -- RF
A.J. Jimenez -- C
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Schimpf -- 2B
Ryan Goins -- SS

Bisons edge Rochester, 3-2, in Sunday afternoon game

by Amy Moritz

The Buffalo Bisons jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 3-2 win over the Rochester Red Wings in front of 8,104 at Coca-Cola Field Sunday afternoon.

It was the fifth win in the last six games for the Herd who moved back to .500 (37-37) for the first time since June 15.

The Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the third when Ryan Goins led off with hit then scored on a two-out single from Anthony Gose. Kevin Pillar then homered to left and the two-run shot gave the Herd a 3-0 lead.

Chris Colabello helped Rochester inch back into the game, with a two-out RBI single in the fifth and a two-out RBI double in the seventh.

Brad Glenn extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the second. He went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk.

The teams conclude their series tonight (7:05 p.m., TWC, Radio 1520) with Esmil Rogers (1-1, 3.79) scheduled to start for the Herd.

The Bisons then host Columbus for four games beginning on Tuesday.

More from 'Buffalo's Grand Old Game': Pictures and audio of Stan Barron at The Rockpile

Photo 3
Here's my ticket stub from Buffalo's Grand Old Game.


By Mike Harrington

Big thanks to all who have responded via email and Twitter on today's Inside Baseball column on "Buffalo's Grand Old Game", which took place 30 years ago Monday in War Memorial Stadium.

Photo 1
The program from June 23, 1984.

In case you missed it, I have posted a group picture, a YouTube and several pieces of audio from the game on the blog at this link, courtesy of the archives of Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Pete Weber.

I listened to a couple hours of audio Weber provided to me, pretty much the entire game put together. Legendary Buffalo broadcaster Stan Barron, who died later in 1984, did dugout interviews that day and they're fascinating to hear.

I was fortunate enough to meet Barron once, prior to a Canisius game in Memorial Auditorium in 1983, and it was a thrill I still carry. He was frail and needed to be helped into a chair in the press room but he was gracious when we were introduced and he still had that trademark voice I had hear pretty much my whole life listening to Bills games and the old "Free Form Sports" show on WBEN Radio.

One of the interviews Barron did on this day in 1984 was with Monte Irvin, a Hall of Famer who was working at the time in the Office of Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and talked favorably about Buffalo's expansion hopes based on talk of a new downtown stadium and the big crowd that packed into The Rockpile that day.

Photo 2
Warren Spahn (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News file photo)

You can click below to hear the audio files of the Barron-Irvin interview, of Barron talking about a conversation with Ernie Banks and of the game wrap featuring Barron, Weber and Michael O'Shea.

Barron with Irvin

Barron on Banks

The game wrapup

Glenn continues to impress for Bisons

by Amy Moritz

Looking for some offense? The Herd is starting to find more punch to its bats these days. Now if only they could get that pop to become consistent.

Here's a look at some of the Buffalo Bisons hitters as they prepare for a Sunday afternoon game against Rochester (1:05 p.m.,  TWC, Radio 1520):

  • Brad Glenn has a six-game hitting streak after going 4-6 in Friday night's doubleheader split. Glenn combined to score two runs, drive in three runs and double and homer. During his streak, Glenn is hitting .478 with two home runs and eight RBI.
  • Kevin Pillar has kept up his focus since returning to the Bisons on June 12 from a 24-game stint with the Blue Jays. He has multi-hit performances in seven of the 11 games since his return. Pillar is hitting .404 in those games while his 20 doubles rank second in the International League.
  • Dan Johnson is getting on base thanks to patience. While the slugger leads the IL in home runs, he also leads the league in walks, drawing 59 this season. That ranks fourth in all of minor league baseball.

Menawhile P.J. Walters make his Bisons debut after being called up from Double-A New Hampshire. In four games with the Fisher Cats he went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He has appeared in 40 Major League games with 24 starts including eight games with Minnesota last season.

Today's Bisons' lineup:

Darin Masatroianni -- RF
Anthony Gose -- CF
Kevin Pillar -- LF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Brad Glenn -- DH
Jared Goedert -- 3B
A.J. Jimenz -- C
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Jonathan Diaz -- SS

 

Audio & Video of 'Buffalo's Grand Old Game' -- 30 years later

Grand Old Game 1984
Who's Who in the group photo (CLICK for bigger view!) -- Front Row: Unknown, Batboy Kevin Lester Jr., Kevin Lester, Bob Feller, Brooks Robinson, Art Ponto, Max Patkin, Glenn Beckert, Bobby Richardson, Tommy Davis, Milt Pappas, Unknown, Unknown.    Middle Row: Early Wynn, Gene Mauch, Contest Winner Joan Mammott, Billy Pierce, Ernie Banks, Warren Spahn, Umpire Shag Crawford, Umpire Al Barlick, Smoky Burgess, Enos Slaughter, Sibby Sisti, Randy Hundley, Alvin Dark, Unknown.     Back Row: Herman Franks, Sal Maglie, Monte Irvin, Whitey Ford, Hoyt Wilhelm, Jose Cardenal, Moose Skowron, Larry Doby, Luke Appling, Jimmy Piersall, Minnie Minoso; Tony Oliva, Umpire Tom Gorman, Orlando Cepeda, Don Newcombe, Don Kessinger, Phil Regan, Johnny Sain, Marv Throneberry, Phil Regan, Bobby Thomson, Phil Cavarretta, Mike Billoni, Unknown. Notes: Willie Mays was not in the picture/From Pete Weber archives

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to read Sunday's Inside Baseball column about the 30th anniversary of "Buffalo's Grand Old Game," the oldtimers classic featuring 12 Hall of Famers that was played in War Memorial Stadium on June 23, 1984.

I found a very grainy YouTube film that gives you an idea of what the scene was like too (it whiffs on the year). Mostly the introductions but you can recognize guys like Bob Feller and Brooks Robinson among others:

And courtesy of the encyclopedic archives of broadcaster Pete Weber, we have numerous audio files from the game to enjoy. I'm particularly partial to hearing interviews from the late Stan Barron as well as the plays made by good friend and longtime Bisons scorer Kevin Lester, the athletics director at Williamsville South. I've been having tech trouble with a couple Barron clips but will post them later today.

Click the files below to hear the audio and get taken back in time.

Game highlights

Don Kessinger leadoff home run

Brooks Robinson home run

Larry Doby home run

Early Wynn interview

Lester catches Cepeda pop-up

Lester bats against Spahn

Lester bats against Sain

Bisons can't hold the lead, drop opener of doubleheader

by Amy Moritz

The three-game winning streak for the Buffalo Bisons came to an end Saturday evening as the Herd dropped a 6-3 decision to the Rochester Red Wings in the first half of a doubleheader at Coca-Cola Field.

The game marked the official halfway point of the season for the Herd, who fell to 35-37.

The Bisons took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Kevin Pillar and a two-out single, Dan Johnson drew a walk and Brad Glenn sent a shot over the left centerfield wall.

The Herd nursed that lead until the fifth when Rochester jumped out for four runs and then tacked on two more in the sixth.

Deck McGuire (3-2) didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning. That's when he gave up four straight hits which allowed the Red Wings to take the lead. He took the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits in six innings of work. He walked two and struck out four.

The second half of the doubleheader (both scheduled for seven innings) will start at 8:15 with lefty Raul Valdes getting a spot start out of the bullpen.

Doubleheader Day at Coca-Cola Field

by Amy Moritz

Remember the cold, rainy start to April? Welcome to the beginnng of doubleheader makeups.

The Buffalo Bisons and Rochester Red Wings will play a single-admission doublheader today with a pair of seven-inning games beginning at 5:35 p.m.

The Herd is on a three-game winning streak, including a dramatic come-from-behind win Friday night. (Well, maybe "dramatic" is an overstatement after the way the parent Toronto Blue Jays erased an 8-0 deficit for an epic 14-9 win at Cincinnati Friday.) Jonathan Diaz had four runs batted in -- three on a three-run homer in the seventh to the tie game and one when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.

Starting pitchers: Deck McGuire gets the start in Game 1 making his fifth start for the Herd. In two starts at Coca-Cola Field he has a 1.90 earned run average. In Game 2 lefty Raul Valdes will make a spot start for the Bisons. Since being acquired by the Blue Jays in a trade with Houston in May, Valdes has made eight relief apperarances with a 1-1 record and a 4.61 ERA.

Welcome back: Anthony Gose returns to the Bisons and the lineup after being optioned by the Blue Jays on Wednesday. Gose played in 31 games with Toronto from May 16 to June 17, hititng .225 with a air of doubles, a triple and eight runs scored. He drove in two runs and stole two bases. He's leading off and playing centerfield in Game 1.

Thruway Cup: Because we know you follow these standings closely, the Bisons are now just half a game behind Syracuse in the Thruway Cup Standings. In the three-way competition, the Bisons are 6-5, Syracuse is 9-7 and Rochester is 4-7.

The Bisons' starting lineup for Game 1:

Anthony Gose -- CF
Adron Chambers -- DH
Kevin Pillar -- LF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Brad Glenn -- RF
A.J. Jimenez -- C
Jared Goedert -- 3B
Ryan Schimpf -- 2B
Ryan Goins -- SS

Sanchez makes his Coca-Cola Field debut

by Amy Moritz

Welcome Aaron Sanchez. We've been waiting for you.

The top-prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization makes his Coca-Cola Field debut tonight with is second start at Triple A as the Buffalo Bisons host Rochester at 7 tonight (TWCS, Radio 1520).

In his first outing with the Bisons, he took the loss, giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits in four innings at Toledo June 14.

Sanchez was impressive in spring training with the Blue Jays, not allowing a run in 15 1/3 innings pitched. He started the season in Double-A New Hampshire, posting a 3-4 record with a 3.82 earned run average.

In 2013 he missed over a month while on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. He the pitched in 22 games for Single-A Dunedin, going 4-5 with a 3.34 ERA and 75 strikeouts to 40 walks in 86 1/3 innings of work.

Road trip recap: The Bisons return from a 10-game road trip. They went 4-6 on trip with a pair of wins Thursday in Columbus.

"I would say it saved it a little bit but we’re still better than we’re playing," said firstbaseman Dan Johnson, who leads the International League in home runs with 16.

Slumping in the standings: The Herd is looking to get back in the IL North Division race. With the midpoint of the season coming on Saturday, the Herd is 7 1/2 games back of division-leading Syracuse.

Transactions: The Blue Jays optioned right handed pitcher Steve Delabar to make room for Liam Hendriks who is making the start for Toronto's game against the Reds tonight.

Tonight's starting lineup:

Darin Mastroianni -- CF
Adron Chambers -- LF
Kevin Pillar -- RF
Dan Johnson -- 1B
Brad Glenn -- DH
Andy LaRoche -- 3B
Ryan Goins -- 2B
Hector Gimenez -- C
Jonathan Diaz -- SS

Updated: Season over for Herd's Romero after knee surgery

By Mike Harrington

The day after his franchise-record, nine-walk meltdown May 16 against Gwinnett in Coca-Cola Field, Ricky Romero and I sat alone in the Bisons' dugout following batting practice and he insisted his arm was fine. But he also confirmed my suspicion when he told me his knees probably weren't.

The Blue Jays put Romero on the disabled list after two more starts in Buffalo that featured 10 more walks, and now from Sportsnet's Shi Davidi with the parent club in New York comes this news today: Romero has had surgery on his left knee and may be looking at work to be done on the other if an evaluation in six weeks deems it necessary.

7 p.m. update: The Blue Jays have confirmed Romero's surgery was performed June 17 in Los Angeles and is season-ending. Recovery time is listed as six months.

Romero, the former 15-game winner and American League All-Star, was 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA in nine starts for the Bisons this season. But more than that, he gave up 37 hits and 42 walks in just 37 2/3 innings while striking out only 28. His numbers and his hideous game-by-game log are all at this link.

The Blue Jays are paying Romero $7.5 million this year and $7.5 million next year before they can buy him out for $600,000 following the 2015 season. Now, it appears there's a distinct chance Romero's 2014 season could be over entirely.

And you thought Ville Leino made some easy money.

Late-night magic: Dodgers' Kershaw fires no-hitter with 15 Ks to stymie Rockies

By Mike Harrington

While you and I slept, we all missed one of the great pitching performances of all time: Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitched a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts in an 8-0 win over the Rockies -- coming a Hanley Ramirez error shy of a perfect game.

The Ramirez error came on a night he almost didn't play due to a finger injury. 

Here's an MLB.com article listing incredible facts about the no-no, topped by these two gems: It's the most strikeouts without a walk ever in a no-hitter and it's the second highest pitcher Game Score of all-time (102), behind only the 105 posted by the Cubs' Kerry Wood during his 20-strikeout game in 1998.

Here's MLB.com's no-hitter treatment video of all 27 outs -- made even better by the fact they're through the voice and grace of Vin Scully.

On the air: Harrington talks Yankees-Blue Jays in Syracuse

The Blue Jays and Yankees open a key series tonight in the Bronx and News Sports Reporter Mike Harrington looked at the series late this afternoon with St. Bonaventure grad Mike Lindsley on The Score 1260 in Syracuse. The interview was taped shortly before the Jays announced they have optioned 2013 All-Star reliever Steve Delabar back to the Bisons.

The interview also included Harrington's remembrances of Tony Gwynn and a brief discussion of the Sabres' announcement today that they will be buying out Ville Leino. Click the audio file below to listen to the interview.

 

Mike Harrington on AM1260 in Syracuse

Tanaka vs. Stroman in Yanks-Jays opener in the Bronx; Delabar sent to Bisons

By Mike Harrington

The Blue Jays open a key series tonight in Yankee Stadium in a rare spot for them in recent years: First place in the American League East, and by 4 1/2 games, no less.

The pitching matchup sees Masahiro Tanaka facing Toronto for the second time this year against Blue Jays rookie Marcus Stroman, a Long Island native pitching in the Bronx for the first time in his career. It will be very interesting to see how Tanaka does against a team that has seen him before.

I got a good look at Tanaka on Opening Night in Toronto and he was impressive, just like he's been all season.

Stroman talked to Toronto reporters about the trip home to New York over the weekend in Baltimore:

---You can read about Stroman's return home in John Lott's story in the National Post here.

---You can read Brendan Kennedy's story in the Toronto Star here. 

Incredibly, the Blue Jays have lost 13 straight at Yankee Stadium -- going 0-10 in the Bronx last season -- and 22 of 24 going back to 2011. Here's a look at the pitching matchups for the series.

They've called up Munenori Kawasaki from the Bisons and sent reliever Steve Delabar -- who was in the All-Star Game last year -- back to Buffalo in a bit of a surprise move. Delabar is 3-0, 4.68 with 21 strikeouts and 16 walks in 25 innings. Kawasaki has been huge for the Herd lately, batting .387 (12-31) over his last 13 games, and should join a second-base platoon for the Jays with Steve Tolleson.

Shi Davidi of Sportsnet has notes on the transactions from GM Alex Anthopoulos' pregame meeting with reporters.

From the archives (w/audio): Tony Gwynn talks hitting and Yankee Stadium with Sullivan and Harrington

By Mike Harrington

The tributes keep pouring in the wake of the news that Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died at 54. As you would expect, MLB.com has put together a terrific Gwynn package full of audio and video.

During the 1998 World Series, Jerry Sullivan was among a small group of reporters who chatted with Gwynn about his trip to Yankee Stadium's Monument Park. When you read Sully's column, it's clear Gwynn held the Yankees and the Bronx in a huge amount of reverence.

And like Gwynn said at the end of the piece: The Yankees were "the steepest mountain out there to climb". They swept the Padres in four straight but it wasn't Gwynn's fault. He batted .500 and tied Series MVP Scott Brosius for the most hits in the series with eight. One of them was this soaring home run into the right-field facade in Game One:

Ten years later, on the day of the 2008 All-Star Game that was one of the shining moments of the final season in The House that Ruth Built, reporters were given a chance to interview several Hall of Famers taking part in a red carpet parade that day. We piled into a ballroom at the Hotel Intercontinental and I was floored at the baseball royalty in front of me, as my blog from that day clearly shows. 

Eventually, I made my way to a back corner of the room where Gwynn was speaking to a lone Japanese reporter. They were talking about Ichiro and Gwynn was fascinating. Then I asked Gwynn about his trip to Monument Park 10 years earlier and he recalled the trip in vivid detail. It was with his son, Tony Jr., now a 31-year-old player for the Phillies. I had to leave him at that point to catch a couple others, notably Tommy Lasorda and Wade Boggs, for their thoughts on the closing of the old ballpark. Sad to think now. Lots of hitting questions to be had. 

You can click the audio file to hear the brief conversation below. RIP, Mr. Padre.

Mike Harrington talks to Tony Gwynn in 2008

Hall of Famer Gwynn dead at 54; Padres legend battled cancer

By Mike Harrington

Some very sad news breaking today out of San Diego: Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, one of the purest hitters in the history of the game, has died at age 54 after battling cancer for several years. The Hall's official remembrance video issued today can be viewed above.

Gwynn had been coaching San Diego State, his alma mater, since 2003. He has been battling mouth and cheek cancer since 2010 and his health had been reportedly on the decline for a few months.  Although signing a contract extension just last week, he had been on medical leave from San Diego State since March.

"Major League Baseball today mourns the tragic loss of Tony Gwynn," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement issued today. "The greatest Padre ever and one of the most accomplished hitters that our game has ever known, whose all-around excellence on the field was surpassed by his exuberant personality and genial disposition in life.

"... For more than 30 years, Tony Gwynn was a source of universal goodwill in the National Pastime, and he will be deeply missed by the many people he touched. On behalf of all of our Clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Tony's wife Alicia, their son Tony Jr. of the Phillies, their daughter Anisha, the Padres franchise, his fans in San Diego and his many admirers throughout baseball."

Gwynn was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 along with Cal Ripken Jr. It's believed to be the most highly attended ceremony ever in Cooperstown, with upwards of 80,000 people on hand. Two players from small markets who only combined to win one World Series. But both contributed so much to the game and did it with such high character that they were revered across the baseball world.

"This is an extraordinarily sad day," Ripken said in a statement today. "Tony was a Hall of Fame ballplayer but more importantly he was a wonderful man. Tony always had a big smile on his face and was one of the warmest and most genuine people I have ever had the honor of knowing. Like all baseball fans I will miss him very much and my thoughts are with his family today."

Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune has penned this terrific tribute to Gwynn's life and career and it's worth the read (and the multiple clicks to new pages).  The Hall of Fame has issued his obituary on Gwynn here.

Gwynn finished his career in 2001 with 3,141 hits and a .338 lifetime batting average -- the highest of any player since 1939. He won eight National League batting titles. He batted .394 in the strike-shortened 1994 season, and historians say that was probably the best chance anyone has had to hit .400 in the last 60 years.

There is one statue at Petco Park, home of the Padres, and it's Gwynn. And the ballpark's address? Tony Gwynn Drive.

Bisons/Blue Jays roster moves continue: A recap of a busy day

By Mike Harrington

The Blue Jays and Bisons keep burning up the transaction wire in advance of Buffalo's series opener tonight in Toledo.

We've already given you the lowdown today on the promotion of top prospect and former No. 1 pick Aaron Sanchez, who will make his Triple-A debut Saturday night, and the addition of Toronto center fielder Colby Rasmus on an injury rehab assignment. 

But there's plenty more where those moves came from. As of 4 p.m. today, here's the latest Bisons/Blue Jays transactions:

----Promoted from Double-A New Hampshire to Buffalo: P Aaron Sanchez, OF (and former New York Yankee) Melky Mesa.

---Returned to Double-A from Buffalo: OF Kenny Wilson, P Gregory Infante.

---Added on Major League Rehab: OF Colby Rasmus

---Promoted to Toronto yesterday: OF Darin Mastroinni

---Added from Toronto yesterday: OF Kevin Pillar, who has a 26-game on-base streak with Buffalo that is the longest current one in the International League.

---Released: P Ryan Rowland-Smith (had an out in his contract anytime after June 1 if another MLB club wanted to sign him).

---Traded: OF Matt Tuiasosopo, to the Chicago White Sox for cash. He'll likely report to Charlotte.

---Acquired in trade by Toronto: OF Adron Chambers, from Houston for a pair of Class A prospects. Chambers, who has played 84 games with the St. Louis Cardinals over the last three years, was batting .281 for Oklahoma City of the Houston chain. His assignment was finalized late Thursday afternoon and he's expected to join the Bisons in the next day or two.

Rasmus to the Herd for MLB rehab

by Amy Moritz

First, it was the promotion of pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez from Double-A New Hampshire to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

Ph_458675Now, the Herd announced Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus will join the Herd for a Major League rehabilitation assignment.

Rasmus has been on Toronto's disabled list since May 15 (retroactive to May 13) with right hamstring tightness. In his first 37 games with the Blue Jays this season he hit nine home runs, drove in 19 runs and hit .222.

The  bad news for Bisons' fans -- the team is on an extended road trip. They open a four-game series in Toledo tonight and then shift to Columbus for another four-game set. The Bisons return to Coca-Cola Field on Friday, June 20.

Blue Jays promote top pitching prospect Sanchez to Bisons

Sanchez
Aaron Sanchez was the Blue Jays' second first-round choice in 2010. (Toronto Star via Getty Images)



By Mike Harrington

Bisons fans had a memorable, albeit short, stint of watching Blue Jays megaprospect Marcus Stroman on the mound in Buffalo this year. It looks like they're about to get a chance to see Toronto's other big arm.

As first reported by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays promoted 21-year-old right-hander Aaron Sanchez from Double-A New Hampshire to the Herd today. Sanchez is 3-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 starts with the Fisher Cats but has been particularly impressive in winning his last two outings, allowing three runs in 11 2/3 innings -- but striking out 14 and walking just three.

Sanchez, who is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, is generally considered the top Toronto prospect still in the minors. He was listed as MLB.com's No. 19 overall prospect prior to the season and was ranked No. 32 by Baseball America.

The callup of Sanchez will give the Bisons a pair of 2010 first-round draft choices in their rotation. Deck McGuire, who recently joined the team from New Hampshire, was the No. 11 pick that year and Sanchez went No. 34 as a compensation pick for the loss of former Bison Marco Scutaro in free agency. And Stroman, remember, was Toronto's No. 1 pick in 2012.

Sanchez's career to date has been marked by careful logging of his innings, especially since he missed a month last year with shoulder discomfort. He's yet to throw more than 91 innings in a season, although he finished last year strong, getting additional innings in the Arizona Fall League and earning the starting nod in the league's Rising Stars Game. Sanchez is already at 66 innings this year so he will certainly blow by that number in 2014. 

Sanchez had an impressive spring with the Blue Jays, capped by 5 2/3 scoreless innings in an outing against Tampa Bay that featured the bulk of the Rays' major-league lineup. He was so good that broadcaster Buck Martinez, the former Jays catcher and manager, said he should open the season in the big-league rotation. The Blue Jays followed the advice of Toronto Star columnist Richard Griffin and played it safe with Sanchez, putting him in Double-A.

The Bisons play their series opener tonight in Toledo, with Sean Nolin scheduled to start. There's no word yet how the rotation might go although Sanchez's normal day to pitch would be Friday so stay tuned. The team does not return home until opening a series June 20 against Rochester.

Noon update: The Toronto Star is reporting Sanchez's Triple-A debut will come Saturday at Toledo.

Did-you-see-that Video: Cespedes' throw

By Mike Harrington

My email and Twitter feeds got these contributions today and they're both worth a look.

The first comes from the eighth inning of Tuesday's A's-Angels game, where Yoenis Cespedes makes up for his own gaffe in left field with a not-of-this-world throw to nail Howie Kendrick at the plate. Angels manager Mike Scioscia called it "a guided missile." Good description. Check it out:

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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