Scoreboard, Mejia await Bisons fans in 2011
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • April 04, 2011 @ 2:28pm
(Update, 4/5—Bisons.com lists opening day roster)
Following the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons can tug at your heartstrings—it’s easy to fall in love with stalwarts like Ike Davis, Chris Carter, R.A. Dickey, and Josh Thole, only to see them shipped off to Queens. At the same time, however, there are ample reasons for Bisons fans to be excited for the 2011 season opener April 7th (3:05 PM at Coca-Cola Field).
If you’re not guilty of becoming attached to certain players and prefer a nice relaxing night outside, the organization spent $4 million on stadium upgrades. There’s a brand-new scoreboard installed for 201, bu it’s not one of those “hey, this is new, but it’s basically the same as before” changes. The HD screen measures 80’ by 33’, three times the size of the previous version and easily the largest in the minor leagues. It’s easily visible from Niagara Falls.
A new drainage system and sand-based field can handle up to 10” of water per hour —heaven forbid its limits are ever tested—and the new surface is on par with major league standards. So, now when you glance up while munching on a chili dog and fries, the scoreboard will be bigger and crisper and the grass will look awfully green. It’s the small things in life.
Tim Teufel, who won a World Series ring with the New York Mets in ‘86, takes over for Ken Oberkfell as the Bisons’ manager. Teufel spent the 2010 season at Double-A Binghamton; this is his Triple-A debut.
For those of you waiting for “the next big thing”—not sure how well that worked out for Stephen Strasburg—the Bisons have a gem of their own in 21 year old fireballer Jennry Mejia. The Dominican spent the first part of 2010 in the Mets’ bullpen, but now he’s being groomed as a starter. He’s Baseball America’s 44th ranked prospect overall. Dillon Gee and Pat Misch round out a deep and talented staff, while Boof Bonser continues his road back from rotator cuff surgery.
The bats won’t be weak either. Once Jason Bay returns to health for the Mets, Lucas Duda (17 homers in 70 games last year) will join the Bisons’ lineup. In the meantime, veteran Bison Fernando Martinez will strive for consistency—he might be the most talented on the team—and Jesus Feliciano, Ruben Tejada, Justin Turner, and Val Pascucci form a balance core. There are questions in the bullpen and at catcher, but the Bisons have the makeup of an International League contender.
For a season schedule and ticket options, visit the Buffalo Bisons’ website.