Tonight figures to be one of the most exciting nights of the year in Dunn Tire Park with the annual Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concert and fireworks show following the Bisons' 6:05 p.m. game against the Rochester Red Wings. The Herd will be going for its season-high sixth straight win and trying to complete a four-game sweep of Rochester but it won't be easy because scheduled Wings starter Nick Blackburn has thrown a franchise-record 41 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
A couple of warnings: If you've purchased tickets online, go to Tops Markets by noon today with your confirmation code to pick up your tickets or get to the ballpark "will call" windows early. (Shame on all of you who show up at 5:45 every year and expect to be in your seats by 6:05!). And if you're in concession lines that seem incessant, give the stands upstairs a try if you're looking for just the basics. Lines usually aren't anywhere near as long.
The music and the fireworks have always been first-rate but there have usually been some interesting happenings on the field as well. Here's a look at some big moments from past BPO Nights:
1997 -- High winds cancel the postgame fireworks after a loss to Louisville so the team reschedules that part of the show for July 14. Lured mostly by the pyrotechnics, a crowd of more than 19,000 shows up on a Monday night and is rewarded with Jeff Manto's memorable three-home run game against the Iowa Cubs.
1998 -- One night after blowing an eight-run lead but still pulling out a 17-16 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Bisons post an 8-7 win over the Red Barons. That gives them a franchise-record 37 runs over three games, a mark that still stands.
2001 -- The Bisons are blown out by Rochester, 11-1, in a game more memorable for Jaret Wright's outburst against fans behind the Buffalo dugout as he was pulled to a chorus of boos after allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings.
2004 -- The Bisons overcome a seven-run deficit for the fourth time in their championship season as they stun Syracuse, 9-8. The win is secured in a three-run eighth that featured Grady Sizemore's RBI triple and run-scoring doubles by Jhonny Peralta and Russell Branyan.
2005 -- Jeremy Guthrie pitches seven innings of three-hit ball in a 10-1 rout of Ottawa.
2006 -- Ben Francisco extends his hitting streak to 19 games, Guthrie goes seven innings again and gets support from a five-run first in a 7-1 win over Rochester.