The Buffalo Bisons and the International League announced on Friday that the Mets affiliate will host the 25th annual Triple-A All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, N.Y. during the 2012 season. The return to Buffalo coincides with the 25th anniversary of the opening of Coca-Cola Field in 1988, when the club hosted the first-ever Triple-A All-Star Game.
"We are honored to host the milestone game of what has become a marquee event for Triple-A and baseball fans across the country," said Bisons Vice President/General Manager Mike Buczkowski at a press conference on Friday.
The game, which does not yet have a set date for 2012, features the best players from the International League and Pacific Coast League. The International League earned a 6-5 win during last season's event, which was held in Portland, Ore.
"The Triple-A All-Star Game represents the best of the best," said Buczkowski. "We feel it's only fitting that the game returns to where it all began in its 25th anniversary."
New Era Cap has agreed to be a primary sponsor for the event, which was first held on July 13, 1988 before a sellout crowd of 19,500 at then-Pilot Field. The American League affiliates defeated the National League affiliated All-Stars, 2-1, in the nationally televised game on ESPN.
"New Era, the official on-field cap of all of Minor League Baseball and, of course, our hometown Bisons, is thrilled that the International League has chosen Buffalo to host the 25th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game," said Gerry Matos, Senior VP of Marketing at New Era Cap. "We're excited at the prospect of partnering with the Bisons to help roll out the welcome mat and put on a great show in 2012."
Coca-Cola Field, one of the largest parks in the Minors, was built for about $42 million in 1988 and seats 18,025. The stadium features a popular eatery on the first base line, Pettibones Grille Restaurant.
"Back in 1988, the obvious choice to host that first game was the Buffalo Bisons with their outstanding fan support, top-notch organization and wonderful new ballpark," Mobley said. "With the outstanding fan support, top-notch organization and wonderful ballpark still in place, there was only one correct place to go for the 25th annual game in 2012."
Appropriately, Buffalo has had more All-Star participants (55) than any other team in the game's 23-year history, including two "Star of Stars" award winners -- Luis Lopez in 1995 and Russell Branyan in 1999.
The Phillies' Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, will host the 2010 All-Star Game in Allentown, Pa. before Salt Lake, an Angels farm team, will get the honors in 2011.