It's Opening Day for the Buffalo Bisons. The Herd is in Trenton, NJ to face the Worchester Red Sox, with the probability the Toronto Blue Jays will play at Sahlen Field.
It's going to be a very strange season. New Bisons Manager Casey Candaele showed the confusion Monday during a Zoom call, in Bisons hat and Trenton Thunder shirt.
In this world of COVID hammering sports, the Bisons will be the Trenton Thunder, playing in their temporary home of Trenton, NJ. That's to leave Sahlen Field open for the likely return of the Toronto Blue Jays, a team which could return to its home field, but its major league competitors probably wouldn't be able to deal with quarantine rules to and from Canada.
When the Bisons are on the road, it will be in Bisons uniforms.
Outfielder Forrest Wall summed it up.
"It's so weird, especially not like anything I've been a part of. But I'm good with that because it's a great group of guys here, working together," Wall said. "We all understand that it's a hard time and everything's not going to be organized all the time. But we've got each other and we're just working through things and getting ready to play."
Pitcher Alek Manoah, who finished college in 2019, said it's still pitcher and catcher and a mound and home plate.
"Not as much of a jump as people are making it to be. I just think it's still baseball. It's still 60' to the plate. Still got to go out and compete. So why not compete with the best of them?" Manoah said. "Going to work my tail off, learn new strategies. Some hitters are going to be a little bit more experienced, might have better approaches, things like that. But we still have to throw some strikes, go attack some hitters and win some ball games."
Opening Day pitcher will be Nate Pearson, a top prospect for the Toronto team who is recovering from an injury. Pearson said the injury is a problem now, but the delay in moving to a major league slot can be a blip in a career.
"I'm just now starting my young career out. Look back on this in 10 years and I'll be thankful for what I went through and all that," Pearson said. "Being back down in Triple-A, obviously, not where I want to be. I want to be in the big leagues. But this is where I am at right now. So I want to focus on pitching here and enjoying it with my teammates. We've got a lot of great guys here. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Candaele said he's still trying to work out who will play where and there will certainly be input from the Blue Jays. Those decisions would be hard in any year. This year, it's worse with COVID.