A new era in Buffalo Bisons baseball is just 16 days away as the Herd will host the Rochester Red Wings on Opening Day, Thursday, April 4 (2:05 p.m.) as the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 2013 season is the Bisons' 128th year of professional baseball in Buffalo and their 26th at Coca-Cola Field. As the club nears the start of its next chapter in team history, they announced many of the great new features fans can come to expect as part of the Bisons Baseball Experience.
An incredible off-season for the Bisons began in September as the club announced they are the new Triple-A Affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Since then, the club has unveiled a great new Primary Logo and Home, Road and Alternate Uniforms that honor the team's celebrated past as well as their exciting future. The partnership with the Blue Jays was also the inspiration for Promotional Days like Blue Jays Night, presented by Samuel Son & Co. on July 13, a new Blue Jays Themed Rental Suite on the ballpark's club level, Concession Items such as Poutine and Blue Jays Merchandise Items in both the Batter's Box Gift Shop and the Bisons Team Shop.
Other additions to Coca-Cola Field in 2013 include the all new Hall of Fame Heritage Room that pays tribute to all 85 inducted members to the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. The other diamond at the ballpark, Pettibones Grille will be re-launched as 'The Pub at the Park.' The team's popular concessions menu will also benefit from the addition of an all new Wine Cart as well as the installation of another Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine to better service fans on warmer days.
Great improvements have also been made away from Coca-Cola Field. The team has re-launched an exciting new design to Bisons.com. Among the new features available on the site include FREE Print at Home for tickets and the ability to Pick Your Seat when ordering tickets.
Bisons and Blue Jays align as partners
The biggest change at Coca-Cola Field in 2013 was the first the team made this off-season. The Bisons signed a two-year player development contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. It's the first time in franchise history Buffalo has aligned with the area's closest Major League team.
With that change comes a new look for the Bisons. The team unveiled a new Primary Logo, designed locally by ADPRO Sports, which represents a modern twist to a fan-favorite design from the first few seasons at the ballpark. The logo includes the return of a red-white-blue color scheme as well as a Buster figure gearing up to hit another home run.
In 2013, the Bisons players will take to the field with new Home, Road and Alternate Uniforms. Using performance technology from Russell Athletic, the classic home white and road gray tops are complimented by an alternate red jersey that features the Blue Jays split font numbers and a bi-national patch on the right sleeve. Two new official On-Field Caps have been produced locally by the New Era Cap Company.
Bisons introduce many Blue Jays' inspired additions
The Bisons new affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays will not only be celebrated on the field. To coincide with the team's new partnership, the Bisons had added promotional events to their schedule including Blue Jays Night with a Blue Jays Cap Giveaway on July 13, presented by Samuel Son & Co. Former Bisons and current Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey will be the subject of a Bobble Head Giveaway on July 24, presented by AXA Advisors. The natural wonder that binds our region, Niagara Falls is this year's Replica Giveaway on August 14, presented by NAPA Auto Parts.
The Bisons transformed one of their popular themed rental suites into the all new Blue Jays Suite. Located behind home plate on the club level, the Blue Jays suite will feature Toronto team colors, photos of the great players from the team's past as well as entertaining games for fans of all ages.
One of the great treats found in Canada, Poutine (a combination of gravy and cheese curds served over French fries) will now be available in both Pettibones Grille & Catering Center and concession stands. Blue Jays Apparel and Caps will also be sold in all Bisons gift shops, including on Bisons.com.
History has a home in new Hall of Fame Heritage Room
The all new "Hall of Fame" Heritage Room located by section 107 in the main concourse will celebrate the many moments and people that have made an impact in the 128-year history of professional baseball in Buffalo. From the early days of Ollie Carnegie to the 25th season at Coca-Cola Field, never-before-seen artifacts and memorabilia will be available for viewing all year. There will also be an individual plaque celebrating all 85 members of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Bisons are proud to partner with the Buffalo Sports Museum to present different exhibits throughout the 2013 season, including Luke Easter and Offermann Stadium, the Rockpile Days, the filming of "The Natural," and more! An exhibit schedule will be available on Bisons.com.
Connect with the team in new ways on Bisons.com
Already one of the top five most visited websites in minor league baseball, Bisons.com has been completely re-launched for the 2013 season. Fans will find quicker and easier access to everything Bisons, including live game webcasts, exclusive player interviews and highlights, free streaming audio, promotional updates and the team's official online shop.
The ability to get to the ballpark from your home has never been easier. On Bisons.com, the Print at Home feature is now Free of Charge! Also, fans will now have the ability to Pick Your Seat online and purchase the exact seat at Coca-Cola Field that they want.
Pettibones Grille becomes 'The Pub at the Park'
Pettibones Grille has long stood as a great place to go for a pre-game meal. In 2013, 'The Pub at the Park' will be a destination right up to the final out of the game. A total of Nine Flat Screen TVs will be installed so fans will never feel away from the action on the field. A new Craft Beer Glass Cooler and Six New Draft Lines serving Flying Bison will also be installed.
The Bisons are proud to continue their commitment to showcase the great Local Food Products of Western New York. Additions to the Pettibones Grille menu in 2013 will feature even more of the flavors Buffalo fans have grown to love:
Wardynski's Grilled Buffalo-Style Sausage Patty on Costanzo's 'Buffalo Roll'
Calamari Fingers with Ilio DiPaolo's marinara dipping sauce
Mussels simmered in Flying Bison Lager
Sweet Melody's Gelato -made with Flying Bison Specialty Brews
Great additions have been made outside of Pettibones Grille, as well. Buffalo's own Constanzo's is now the Official Sandwich Roll at Coca-Cola Field. Fans will enjoy their line of rolls throughout the ballpark. An all new Wine Cart has been added to the main concourse. Fans will be able to purchase wine and wine slushies across from the Consumer's Craft Beer Corner. The team has also installed an additional Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine at the Upstate Farms concession stand to provide fans with faster service of cooler treats.
fridaynightbash!® Happy Hour ramped up for 2013
After a smashing debut in 2012, the Bisons' fridaynightbash!® Happy Hour is back, featuring Flying Bison Craft Brews. Starting on Friday, May 3, the Coca-Cola Field gates open at 5:00 p.m. so you can enjoy 14oz. Flying Bison for only $2 as well as great food specials from BW's Barbeque from 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Additions in 2013 include a special Charlie the Butcher Mini Beef on Weck, only available at the Happy Hour. The team will also hold a special contest every Friday night with prizes including Flying Bison for a Year, a BW's BBQ Dinner at your House, a Flying Bison Kegerator and more!
Bisons Gift Shops expand merchandise catalog
Bisons fans searching for the team's great new look need only to stop at Coca-Cola Field or log on to Bisons.com. The club has introduced a wide catalog of new merchandise featuring both the Bisons and the Toronto Blue Jays. At the Batter's Box Gift Shop or the expanded Bisons Team Shop, new logo merchandise and apparel is arriving daily. From caps to tees, hoodies and jackets, the gift shops at Coca-Cola Field will get Bisons fans outfitted in style.
Of course, the gift shops are also the best location for all official on-field jerseys and New Era caps.
Great new novelties are also now available, including stuffed dolls, t-shirts and hats celebrating the Bisons popular Wing, Cheese and Celery Mascot Race.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.