My story with Coca-Cola Field is a little bit different from what regular Buffalo Bisons fans experience. One of my cousin’s friends is actually a trainer for some of the players, thus I was actually allowed to step down onto the diamond of Coca-Cola Field before one of their games. Before delving into my story, I would like to preface that I was quite the baseball player in high school. I played shortstop and would usually be the third up to bat at the beginning of any game. I received a couple of scholarships to play at Division 3 schools but turned them down. One of my dreams had always been to play in either a minor or major league baseball game. I grew up playing baseball and being raised in the Metro Detroit area, I would always watch the Tigers play.
Now back to my story. Since my cousin’s friend was one of the trainers, I stepped down to the diamond about 2 hours before one of the Bisons’ games. My cousin’s friend allowed me to warm up with the players just to get a taste for how these professional athletes carry themselves before games. I started throwing the baseball around with a couple of the players and time started to move by hastily.
I was in the “zone” while running around the outfield catching pop-up fly balls along with casually drilling underhanded throws. I felt good, and before I knew it, Coca-Cola Field was getting slowly filled with fans and the decibel level of the ballpark had quietly increased from when we had all first started practicing. One thing that I noticed about the fans who came to watch Buffalo Bisons play was that they were actual fans of the team. They kept up with the schedule of the team, knew about the different players’ strengths and weaknesses, and gave constructive criticism when it came to the management of the team.
Only an hour away from game time was when I was humbled a great deal. All of the players’ practice intensity had shot through the roof – the speed of the pitches that players were swinging at increased more than a respectable amount and the players who were casually playing catch were now throwing bullets between one another. I instantly fell behind this steep curve and quickly acknowledged the fact that I was not really as good as I thought I was. My cousin’s friend told me that he had gotten me seats right up above the Bisons’ dugout. I made my way back up to the seating area and watched the Bisons take the diamond. The intensity of the game had sky rocketed and all of the players were giving it their all. I had gotten the feeling that many of these players were trying to make it out of the minors into the majors which meant that every time they stepped out onto the diamond, they were trying to prove to themselves and to others watching that they were capable of playing for a major league team. I watched the game transpire and the Bisons had won the game 7 to 2.