Fri September 21, 2012
Bisons, Blue Jays hope to form "baseball corridor"
Young talent from the Toronto Blue Jays organization will entertain baseball fans at Buffalo's Coca Cola Field starting next season.
The Blue Jays, who are considered to have one of the strongest collections of prospects in all of baseball, are now officially the parent club of the Buffalo Bisons. The Bisons will serve as the AAA farm team for the Jays for at least the next two seasons, ending a four-year relationship with the New York Mets.
Toronto players over the past four years had a much farther trek, with their AAA affiliate located in Las Vegas.
The deal, announced earlier this week, was formalized Friday afternoon when top officials from both teams joined forces at the ballpark for an introductory news conference.
Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston says he has admired the Bisons organization for many years and is excited to enter into the new regional partnership.
"We're here to provide entertainment and a winning environment. We're here to give back to the community and we're here so that you will be proud of this association. The ties between Buffalo and Toronto are very, very strong, and hopefully we can make them stronger," said Beeson.
"Count on us. We will deliver."
Bisons Vice President and General Manager Mike Buczkowski says the goal is to create a "baseball corridor" that will be mutually beneficial to fans of both teams.
"Our hope is that more Blue Jays from Southern Ontario are going to come to Buffalo Bisons games and we hope that more Buffalo Bisons fans and Western New York sports fans are going to go to Rogers Centre to watch the Jays," Buczkowski said.
Blue Jays Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, a team consultant, talked about the possibility of more Jays fans coming down to Buffalo to watch their future stars.
"This is great. I think we're going to have a lot of fans from the Canadian side coming over here to learn about our AAA guys," Alomar said.
The development deal between the Bisons and Blue Jays is for the next two seasons, though several speakers at today's gathering expressed a hope that the alignment would last for several years beyond the initial deal.
"I don't like changing franchises. I'd like for this to be the last team we're with," said Bisons owner Bob Rich.