The main event is almost here. After more than two years of planning and anticipation, the 25th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game is Wednesday, July 11 at Coca-Cola Field (7:00 p.m.), presented by the New Era Cap Company and the Buffalo News. The eyes of the baseball world will be on Buffalo as the game that was born here returns for its silver anniversary.
For a game of this magnitude, there's definitely a lot to see and do. Here's want you need to know if you want to experience everything the All-Star Game in Buffalo has to offer.
There are only ,500 tickets remaining for the 25th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game. Tickets cost just $25, and you'll want to hurry and get yours before they are all gone. The forecast is calling for a beautiful night on Wednesday.
All Coca-Cola Field gates will open at 5:00 p.m. to allow fans to enjoy all there is to see and do before the start of the event at 7:00 p.m. There is no set autograph session for the All-Stars. Arriving early might be the best way to get snag yourself a signature or two.
Pre-game ceremonies begin at 6:15 p.m., so you'll want to get in your seat early.
There should be a great crowd at Coca-Cola Field on Wednesday night, so if you are planning on using ballpark Will Call, we encourage you to come as early as possible to get your tickets. Even better, the Coca-Cola Field Box office will be open at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday (until 5pm) and on Wednesday. If you can, get your tickets ahead of time so you don't miss any of the fun.
Free Official All-Star Program
Thanks to our good friends at The Buffalo News, everyone in attendance will be handed a complimentary 2012 Official All-Star Game Program Book at the gates. Complete with rosters, statistics and great stories, this commemorative keepsake will be yours to remember this great event.
The first 15,000 fans in attendance will also receive and official 2012 All-Star Game Lanyard.
Ceremony First Pitches
Among the ceremonial first pitches on Wednesday, the Bisons are pleased to welcome back former Buffalo All-Star Benny Distefano. Distefano represented the Bisons and started for the National League affiliates at the first ever Triple-A All-Star Game in 1988 at Pilot Field. The standing ovation he received from the Buffalo fans was one of the highlights to that first Triple-A All-Star event.
Another ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Tom Seaver. The greatest New York Met of all time, the Hall of Famer will make his way to Coca-Cola Field after his keynote address at the All-Star Luncheon that afternoon at the Adam's Mark Hotel.
Now, Let's Play Some Baseball
Pre-game ceremonies on Wednesday begin at 6:15 p.m., so get in your seat early. The Bisons are pleased to welcome Doug Allen to sing both the Canadian and American National Anthems. Allen is a Buffalo fan-favorite for his performances before Buffalo Sabres games at the First Niagara Center.
We just need the Baseball!
The official first pitch baseball for the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game will be delivered from above! The Frontier SkyDivers will drop in from a few miles up in the sky to deliver the baseball for the first pitch of the game.
More Special Guests: Earl of Bud
One of the most popular ballpark characters in the 25-year history of Coca-Cola Field, the Earl of Bud will make his return to Western New York for the All-Star Festivities. Fans will be able to see the Earl in his classic coattails dancing on the dugout. Cue up the song "Tequila."
Who's On First
For an All-Star Game were substitutions are aplenty, an ordinary scorecard just won't do. So if you're scoring at home or in the park, download a special 2012 All-Star Game Scorecard HERE. With expanded spaces for each spot in the lineup, you'll be able to keep track of every at-bat without making a mess of your old scorecard.
Pitcher Matt Harvey, slugger Valentino Pascucci and closer Fernando Cabrera were chosen to represent Buffalo at their home field for the All-Star Game. The three All-Stars are the most players the Bisons have sent to the All-Star Game since the 2005 season. The Bisons will also be represented by trainer Joe Golia and radio announcer Ben Wagner.
The entire Pacific Coast League coaching staff is comprised of former Bisons. Las Vegas 51s and former Buffalo manager Marty Brown will lead the PCL team. Fresno Grizzlies hitting coach and former Bisons outfielder Russ Morman and Memphis Redbirds pitching coach and former Bisons pitcher Blake Ilsley were also chosen to the PCL All-Star staff. And don't forget, former Bisons slugger Mike Hessman will be in Buffalo as a member of the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Hessman leads the PCL in home runs this season.
Both the International League and Pacific Coast League rosters can be downloaded HERE.
Out of Town? Watch and Listen to the Game
The All-Star Game will be broadcasted nationwide on the MLB Network with Paul Severino, Jonathan Mayo and Sam Ryan on the announcing crew. Bisons own Ben Wagner will be taking care of the play-by-play duties with Fresno Grizzlies' Doug Greenwald on all 30 Triple-A radio markets, including WWKB 1520 AM and WGR Sportsradio 550 AM in Buffalo.
I want me some All-Star Gear
All-Star Game merchandise will ONLY be available at the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Field. Both the Batter's Box Gift Shop (third base side, next to the ticket office) and the Bisons Team Shop (section 112) will have EXCLUSIVE adult and kids t-shirts, fitted and adjustable caps, All-Star Game baseballs and so much more. Fans can get a sneak peak at some of the All-Star merchandise HERE.
Daddy, all I want is a Hot Dog!
Coca-Cola Field is known for its great food and all concession stands will be ready for the Home Run Derby. But if you're looking to old school and just want the classic hot dog and beverage, don't wait in line! The Bisons will have several "Dog & Drink" stations throughout the concourse. Save some time by stopping by Sections 107, 120, 121 and 204.
Don't forget, with the gates opening at 5:00 p.m., you can stop by early and get yourself a bite to eat before the night's festivities. Or, enjoy a frosty beverage at the popular Consumer's Craft Beer Corner open right at 5:00 p.m.
Please note, Pettibones Grille will not be open at any point during the Home Run Derby because of a private event.
Promotions in the Plaza
The fun starts before you even get into the ballpark. Be sure to check out the entertainment stations set up outside of Coca-Cola Field. A 30-foot Xbox vehicle will open into a stage for fans to show off their dance moves in Kinect for Xbox 360. The Coca-Cola Swelter Stopper truck will give fans a "Chillin" Coca-Cola experience that includes an "Ice Bar." Or, you can deliver your best fastball at the MLB Networks inflatable pitching challenge.
The Stars of Stars Post-Game
MiLB.com will present the Top Star Awards to the Most Valuable Player of both the IL and PCL after the game. The Bisons have had two Top Stars in previous All-Star Games, Louis Lopez in 1995 and Russell Branyan in 1999.
Fireworks, The Perfect Night Cap
As always, you can find the best Fireworks in town at Coca-Cola Field. There will be another spectacular show following the 25th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game.
The entire Buffalo Bisons organization hopes you enjoy every aspect of the 25th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game. With your help on Wednesday night, we'll show the rest of the country what an amazing sports town we are in Buffalo!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.