By Doug Smith
Niagara Gazette — Blue Jay bosses weren’t the only Canadian sports executives in Coca-Cola Field for the Bisons opener Thursday. Base Paths may have met just the fan the Bisons want in the person of Jake Parkhill, and Jake had to pay to get in.
Jake works in marketing for the American Hockey League Hamilton Bulldogs and joined the upper-deckers in a Blue Jays hat and Brock University jacket.
“You’ve got to come to Opening Day,” Jake said, but he had NOT attended the Jays’ sold-out opener. “How can you beat this?” he said, as the Bisons uproariously pounded Rochester 12-7.
A professional absorbing every Bison business maneuver (such as sponsorships for the coachers’ boxes), Jake he usually comes here two or three times a year but now with the Blue Jay affiliation, it’s more likely to be 10.
He cited the cost (“$11, I’d pay 30 in Toronto, and besides, this is outdoors”), the relative convenience (“never any big hassle at customs”) and the excitement of nearly 16,000 fans screaming for three-run triples and a field full of rhubarb.
“I’ll be back often,” Jake said, “and I know a lot of others who will. Besides, I’d always wanted to eat at Mighty Taco.”
GOSE, BUSTER: Anthony Gose lived up to his advance, turning a routine single into a double in his first at bat, beating out a bunt and dislodging a piece of the center field barrier as he leaped for a Red Wing home run. Base Paths loves the blend of innocence and maturity in his admission to an adoring media that his dash for second might not have been wise, and had he been thrown out, “you guys would be asking me something else.”
STARTIN’ MARTIN: Manager Marty Brown seems to have no stop sign. Three times he waved Bisons home on short singles. Players love that, especially in cold weather. And they’ll march right into hell after a manager who defends his players as Brown did in his full-service ejection sticking up for infielder Andy LaRoche. Base Paths wished Marty had a toupee so he could throw that into the dirt, too.
HERD SCENE: Buffalo drew a “straight flush,” a hit in every inning and a hit for every batter… The throng, biggest of the day in any minor league, seemed almost solidly blue, a vivid contrast to most Bison staffers in fire-extinguisher red… It’s $6 now for beer delivery, up a quarter, but it’s $10 CDN in TO... One wise fan confided to Base Paths Friday morning, “I saw more heart in that team yesterday than I did in four whole years with the Mets.”
PLAY OF THE WEEK: Falls softball infielder Stephanie Bielec took off for first after striking out with two out vs. Orchard Park, so startling the Quaker catcher that she dropped the ball and Stephanie reached safely. That’s Marty Brown’s kinda ballplayer.Signal Base Paths via firstname.lastname@example.org