September 2010

Playing in the dirt downtown

The bulldozers are working around the clock at Coca-Cola Field and the Bisons install a new state-of-the-art drainage system. Ben Wagner catches you up on the project.

Duda leads Mets MiLB winners

129136910_712f3d4a5a.jpgThe New York Mets announced that outfielder Lucas Duda was named the Sterling Organizational Player of the Year while lefthanded pitcher Mark Cohoon earned Sterling Pitcher of the Year honors.

In addition, the Mets announced the 2010 Sterling Awards, emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of their nine minor league affiliates.

Righthanded pitcher Dillon Gee was the Sterling Award recipient at Buffalo (AAA) of the International League; outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis received the award for Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League; shortstop Wilmer Flores was honored at St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League; outfielder Cesar Puello captured the award for Savannah (A) of the South Atlantic Leauge; outfielder Darrell Ceciliani received the honor for Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League; third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez was tabbed for Kingsport (R) of the Appalachian League; righthanded hurler Domingo Tapia was honored for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets; centerfielder Eudy Pina was selected for the Dominican Summer League Mets #1 and catcher Hector Alvarez received the award for the Dominican Summer League Mets # 2.

Duda combined to hit .304 (129-425) with 74 runs scored, 40 doubles, two triples, 23 home runs and 87 RBI in 115 games between Binghamton and Buffalo. He became the fifth player in the 125-year history of the Buffalo franchise to hit home runs in five consecutive games when he accomplished the feat from June 28th-July 2nd. The 24-year-old finished tied for the team lead, and New York Mets organizational lead, with 17 home runs despite playing in only 70 games with the Bisons.

Cohoon, who was the Sterling Award winner for Brooklyn in 2009, combined to go 12-5 in 26 starts with Savannah and Binghamton this season. In 161.1 innings he allowed 46 earned runs for a 2.57 ERA. The lefthander allowed 142 hits and 32 walks while striking out 131 for a better than 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Cohoon, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, allowed two earned runs or less in 22 of his 26 starts this season including all 13 outings with the Savannah Sand Gnats. The 2010 South Atlantic League All-Star was also tied for fifth among all Mets minor leaguers in strikeouts.


Gee was previously honored in 2008 as the Sterling Award winner for St. Lucie before his record setting season with Buffalo in 2010. The righthander struck out a Buffalo franchise record and International League leading 165 batters while going 13-8 with a 4.96 (89 earned runs / 161.1 innings pitched) ERA . The 24-year-old also ranked second in the IL in Wins.

Nieuwenhuis hit .289 (114-394) with 81 runs scored, 35 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 60 RBI in 94 games with the B-Mets before being promoted to Buffalo on August 5th. The 2009 Sterling Award winner for St. Lucie led Binghamton in runs scored, doubles, RBI and total bases. The 23-year-old was named to the Eastern League’s Eastern Division All-Star team before moving on to Buffalo and hitting .225 (27-120) over his final 30 games of the year.

The 19-year-old shortstop began the season with Savannah before moving to St. Lucie during the final month of June. In 67 games in the Florida State League he hit .300 (83-277) with 18 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 40 RBI. The 2008 Sterling Award winner for Kingsport hit an astounding .508 (32-63) against lefthanded pitching with St. Lucie while combining to drive in 84 over his two stops in the organization, which ranked second among all Mets minor leaguers.

Rightfielder Cesar Puello hit .292 (118-404) with 80 runs scored, 22 doubles, 34 RBI and 45 stolen bases for Savannah. The 19-year-old speedster ranked fifth in the SAL, and first in the Mets organization, in stolen bases and led Savannah in hits, runs scored, doubles, and total bases.

At 20 years of age, Darrell Ceciliani was the youngest player on the Brooklyn roster and one of the youngest in all of the New York-Penn League. By the end of the season, the centerfielder was also the NYPL’s leading hitter with his .351 (95-271) average. He also established a franchise record with 95 hits, 56 runs, and 12 triples this season, which lead the organization, while being named to the NYPL All-Star team.

Third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez was the offensive leader of the Kingsport Mets, hitting .312 (78-250), 44 runs, 22 doubles, 13 home runs and 48 RBI in 61 games with the K-Mets. The 18-year-old slugger ranked fifth in the Appalachian League in average, third in home runs, hits, and RBI, while also ranking second in doubles and fourth in runs scored.

Righthanded pitcher Domingo Tapia went 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 10 games, all starts, allowing 25 runs, 18 earned, and 49 hits over 47.0 innings while walking 10 and striking out 29. The 18-year-old hurler did not allow more than two earned runs over his final seven starts of the season, pitching to a 1.96 ERA (eight earned runs / 36.2 innings) over this span dating to July 15th.

Centerfielder Eudy Pina was an offensive force for the DSL Mets #1 all season long. The 19-year-old led the team in average (.310), runs scored (42), hits (77), doubles (14), triples (four), home runs (three), RBI (45), and stolen bases (29).

Catcher Hector Alvarez hit .249 (50-201) with 31 runs scored, 19, doubles, one home run and 28 RBI for the Boca Chica North Division Champion DSL Mets # 2. The backstop guided the pitching staff to a 2.77 ERA and threw out 31 of 67 (46.3%) would-be base stealers.

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Bisons install new field, drainage at Coca-Cola Field

Coca-Cola Field Drainage Project.JPGIn a commitment to maintain Coca-Cola Field’s standing as one of the marquee ballparks in all of minor league baseball, the Buffalo Bisons today announced the installation of a completely new drainage system and field for the ballpark.

The existing native soil playing field at Coca Cola Field is being replaced with a state-of-the-art, vertically drained, sand-based playing field commensurate with those found at the highest levels of professional baseball. The new field will consist of an under drainage network capable of draining up to 10″ of rainwater per hour. The under drainage network will consist of a series of perforated pipes placed in gravel filled trenches. The new field will also be outfitted with an automated irrigation system. The natural turf will be a Kentucky Bluegrass blend grown specifically for use on a professional baseball field.

“It is absolutely vital that we update our drainage system that is over two decades old to ensure that we always have the best possible playing conditions for our team,” said Mike Buczkowski, Vice President/General Manager of the Bisons. “This new system will allow us to provide the highest level of baseball and entertainment that our great fans have come to expect with the Bisons baseball experience.”

This project is just one of a number of updates Coca-Cola Field has received over the past 23 seasons. Since the ballpark’s opening, the Bisons have invested over $20 million in various improvements. Coca-Cola Field is currently the oldest ballpark in the International League.

The Bisons have engaged Sports Construction Group of Brecksville, OH for the job. SCG most recently installed the drainage systems of Yankee Stadium and PNC Field, home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. With more than 50 years in the business, SCG’s client list includes one-fourth of the National Football League and one-fifth of all Major League Baseball teams.

The Bisons have also worked hand-in-hand with Populous (former H.O.K. Design, the architects of Coca-Cola Field) in the design of the new drainage system.

Digging has already begun for the project that should take close to two months to complete. SCG will dig at least 18 inches below grass level and haul out over 600 truckloads of dirt before installing the new drainage system.

About Sports Construction Group
Sports Construction Group is a sports field specialty contractor that handles all phases of natural turf and synthetic turf jobs, from excavation and sub base through installation, replacement and maintenance. SCG has more than 50 years of construction experience, including more than 20 years of expertise building high-performance sports fields.

SCG’s clients include one-fourth of National Football League teams, one-fifth of Major League Baseball teams and scores of top-tier collegiate and high school teams. On the SCG roster are some of the most recognizable sport facilities in the nation: Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Progressive Field, Soldier Field, Heinz Field, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Notre Dame Stadium and Northwestern’s Ryan Field, along with dozens of minor league, collegiate, high school and community turf systems. More information is available at

About Populous
Since inception in 1983, Populous has grown into the world’s leading design firm dedicated exclusively to creating environments that draw people and communities together for unforgettable experiences. The firm has completed more than 1,000 projects around the globe with construction value exceeding $20 billion. Populous has worked with 24 Major League Baseball franchises, 30 NFL franchises, 80 professional and civic arena clients, 40 global soccer and rugby teams, 120 universities, 40 convention center clients, 29 equestrian clients and has planned more than 30 major worldwide events.

Their portfolio includes such icons as Yankee Stadium in New York; the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games main stadium; Nanjing Sports Park in China; ANZ Stadium in Australia; Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona; the new University of Minnesota football stadium and event planning for the Super Bowl and Major League Baseball All Star Game. They have received nearly 200 design awards for our work, including three national American Institute of Architect awards and countless global design awards. In addition, in 2009 and in 2010, Populous was named one of Fast Company magazine’s most innovative companies in sports and was also named the American Institute of Architects – Kansas City Chapter Firm of the Year. As Populous, we enthusiastically embrace the expertise we uniquely claim – drawing people together around teams, athletes, events, places, commerce, industry and ideas they wholeheartedly embrace and adore. More information is available at

Bisons end season with blowout win

There was only one game left in the 2010 season, but that was plenty of time for Justin Turner to make a little history.

Turner became the first Bisons player in 74 years to collect six hits in a game as the Herd blew out the Red Wings, 16-1, in the club’s season finale on Monday afternoon from Frontier Field. Turner hit for the cycle, the Herd’s first in six seasons, as Buffalo finished the 2010 campaign with 76 wins on the year.

The win total is 20 more than their 56-win season of 2009. The 76 victories are also the most for the team since going 82-62 in 2005, the last time Buffalo made it to the post season.

In a game that was loaded with offense, Turner shined the brightest. In one day, the Bisons’ top hitter raised his average from .305 to .316 going 6-6 with three singles, a double, his first triple of the season and his 12th home run of the year. He scored four times and also drove in a run as Buffalo scored in seven of the nine innings.

Six hits in one game had yet to be accomplished by a Bisons player in the modern era. You have to go back to June 29, 1936 when Howard “Butch” Meyers went 6-7 in a game also in Rochester. Turner’s cycle was the Herd’s first since Mark Little on April 26, 2004 at Frontier Field.

After an RBI-double in the first inning, Turner launched his 12th home run of the season with two outs in the third. He then singled in the fifth and sixth innings before legging out a triple in the eighth. A six-run rally in the ninth inning got Turner another at-bat, allowing the infielder to make even more Bisons history.

Turner’s teammates joined in the fun on Monday as the Herd set season-highs with 16 runs and 10 extra-base hits. Six other Bisons had multi-hit performances with Andy Green and Russ Adams also hitting home runs. Adams scored four times and Green drove in three.

Adams’s two RBI pulled him even with Mike Hessman for the team-lead with 58RBI on the season.

Valentino Pascucci doubled and drove in two runs while catcher Michael Barrett had three hits and two RBI. Zach Lutz closed out his impressive week with the Bisons with another double and three RBI.

All that offense went to the benefit of rookie Josh Stinson, not that he needed it. Stinson used just 97 pitches for the complete-game victory. He allowed one run on three hits to hand Rochester its 95th loss of the season.

Stinson struck out four and walked two batters.

BISONS NOTES: The Bisons had 20 total hits, their second-highest hit total of the season. Buffalo had 22 hits in a 12-9 victory over Norfolk on June 5…Buffalo went 8-17 with runners in scoring position…Before the game, the Mets made it official by promoting Dillon Gee, Raul Valdes, Sean Green and Jesus Feliciano to New York. Gee will make his major league debut for the Mets on Tuesday against the Nationals.

News & Notes: Game 144

Buffalo Bisons
75-68, 3rd(-11.5)
RHP Josh Stinson 1-2, 3.32

Rochester Red Wings
49-94, 6th(-37.5)
RHP Anthony Swarzak 5-11, 6.07

Monday, September 6, 2010
Frontier Field – Rochester, NY

TV: Time Warner Cable SportsNet 13
Radio: WWKB AM 1520,

TODAY’S GAME: This afternoon, the Bisons close out the 2010 season with the second game of a two-game series with the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field (1:05 p.m.). At 75-68, the Herd failed to reach the post season this year. However, the Bisons will finish the year with a winning record.

SOLID SEASON: At 75-68 heading into today, the Bisons will finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2007 (75-67). A 76th win today would give the Herd their highest win total since going 82-62 during the 2005 campaign. A win today would also give the Bisons 20 more victories than a season ago when they finished 56-87. This year, Buffalo went 42-30 at home, their best record at Coca-Cola Field since going 43-29 during the 2006 season.

vs. THE BEST: The Bisons were a combined 22-18 against the four teams that did qualify for this year’s playoffs. Buffalo was 6-2 against Columbus and 5-3 against Louisville. The Herd split their season series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 8-8 and lost the head-to-head with Durham, 5-3.

GOLLY GEE: The comeback is officially complete for the Bisons 2010 Comeback Player of the Year. The Mets announced yesterday that RHP DILLON GEE will make his big league debut for New York on Tuesday against the Nationals. After missing 98 games last season with a shoulder injury, Gee led all of Triple-A baseball with 165 strikeouts (a Bisons single-season record) in 28 starts with the Herd. Gee was also second in the IL with 13 wins.

MAJOR CALL-UPS: Along with Gee, the Mets announced that they have recalled LHP RAUL VALDEZ, RHP SEAN GREEN and OF JESUS FELICIANO. Green returns to the Mets for the first time since being placed on the disabled list on April 11. New York recalled INF NICK EVANS before yesterday’s game and C MIKE NICKEAS on Thursday. OF LUCAS DUDA and RHP JENRRY MEJIA were promoted when the rosters expanded on September 1.

HOMERING HERD: With three home runs last night, the Bisons now have 150 blasts on the season. That total is the second most in the International League, trailing only Louisville (158). Seven different Bisons have 10 or more home runs, a total that only INF NICK EVANS reached in 2009. The 150 home runs are the most Buffalo has hit since they smashed 179 in 2005.

LOVE FOR LUTZ: In just four Triple-A games, INF ZACH LUTZ now has four extra-base hits and six RBI. His two-run double in the 10th inning last night was the Herd’s only hit in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

METS UPDATE: A host of former Bisons helped the Mets (67-70) beat the Cubs, 18-5 on Sunday. INF IKE DAVIS homered for the second straight day as part of a four-hit performance. INF RUBEN TEJADA hit his first big league home run and drove in five. On the mound, LHP JON NIESE improved to 9-7 on the year with six innings of work. The Mets are now in Washington for a 1:05 p.m. game on Monday.

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