Home Run: Buffalo’s Connections to America’s Pastime

October is notable for three things – autumn, Halloween and Major League Baseball’s postseason. I’m a Dodger Blue-bleeding baseball junkie, so the playoffs consume me for the entire month. Buffalo is well-known as the home of the Bills and Sabres, of course, but our connection to the national pastime is also strong, even in the absence a major league club.

First and foremost, Buffalo’s baseball fans spend their summers at Coca-Cola Field rooting for the Bisons, the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Notable Jays who cut their teeth here include Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar. Seeing players before they become stars, particularly at the AAA level, is one of the many charms of minor league baseball.

New Era Cap Flagship Store

Another Buffalo connection to The Show is more subtle, but just as important – the baseball cap. New Era Cap, founded and still based in Buffalo, is the official cap supplier of Major League Baseball. While you’re watching the World Series, check out the right side of any player’s lid and you’ll see the New Era logo stitched on it. And you can have one of these caps for your very own if you visit their stunning Flagship Store in downtown Buffalo.

TheNatural

Baseball is also terrific movie fodder. One of the finest sports films (and finest films, period, in my opinion) was made right here in Buffalo – The Natural. This epic telling of the classic Bernard Malamud novel follows the rise, fall and redemption of Roy Hobbs, an aging slugger who turns around the woeful New York Knights and leads them to the pennant. Buffalo was chosen as it’s location because War Memorial Stadium, a WPA-era ballpark, visually matched the 1930s setting of the movie.

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Finally, Buffalo has a direct connection to the current World Series clubs. Dave Roberts (a Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer) and Justin Turner from the Dodgers and Houston’s Francisco Liriano and Collin McHugh all spent time with the Bisons in the past. So while you’re watching the games, keep an eye out for these former Buffalonians. Turner will be hard to miss – Mr. Red October will hopefully power the Dodgers to their seventh world championship! #ThisTeam  #LALovesOctober  #LetsGoBuffalo