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Bisons and Baseball

Memo to the Houston Astros: If you make the World Series again and Brian Duff walks through the gates of Minute Maid Park, expect a long night. Duff, the Sabres' host on MSG telecasts, is a diehard Astros fan from his days of idolizing Nolan Ryan. He attended Game Three of the 2005 Series, the Astros' 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox in 14 innings that took 5 hours, 47…

Bisons and Baseball

I waited to write this piece until the World Series, this dramatic showdown between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. The afternoon light and scattered leaves of late October always carry me back to childhood. We'd run home after school to catch the end of each game, in an era when the World Series was played in the afternoon, and maybe we'd grab our gloves and p…

Bisons and Baseball

The roll call of former Bisons connections managing in the big leagues has been cut by two this month with the essentially forced retirement of Terry Collins in New York and the dismissal of John Farrell in Boston. But a new name has surfaced as a potential leading candidate to join the group that now numbers five skippers. Ex-Buffalo catcher Dusty Wathan, the clubho…

Bisons and Baseball

Even though the New York Yankees won 91 games and got within one victory of the World Series, it still seemed like it might be time for Joe Girardi to go. On the surface, it was a stunner when word came out of the Bronx Thursday morning that Girardi is gone. The Yankees have decided not to offer him a new contract and are moving on after 10 seasons. The surprisingly …

Sports

Aaron Judge surprised nobody last week when he was asked about his shortcomings after the Yankees took down the Indians in the American League Division Series. Judge was 1 for 20 in the five games and struck out 16 times, a record for one player in any postseason series. "It's part of the process," Judge said. "Just stay the course." Ah, yes, The Process. A day do…

Bisons and Baseball

CLEVELAND – Didi Gregorius must have felt like he walked into an impossible situation when he first reported to the Yankees in 2015. He wasn't just playing shortstop. He was replacing Derek Jeter, the most beloved Yankee of his time and among the most revered big-league players over the past half-century. Jeter spent 20 years playing in the Bronx. He was a fixture at th…

Bills

Eric Byrnes, self-described "lifetime Buffalo Bills apologist," is nevertheless conflicted about his team. The 11-year Major League Baseball outfielder and MLB Network analyst joined this week's "Tim Graham Show" on Sports Radio 1270 The Fan with a pep-talk tradeoff: We told him why his Bills are fine in exchange for him explaining why my Cleveland Indians will be OK in…

Bisons and Baseball

CLEVELAND – Terry Francona is a baseball lifer with 17 seasons as a manager behind him, so mounting pressure Wednesday was hardly foreign. He was under far more duress as the Red Sox's skipper in 2004, when they won their first World Series in 86 years and exorcized the Curse of the Bambino. Francona returned to his usual state of serenity hours before Game Five, using …

Bisons and Baseball

Joe Girardi acknowledged, after his faux pas in Game Two last week against the Indians, that he may not be invited back next season to manage the Yankees. He's entering the final year of his contract and, as he said, the Yanks ultimately will determine what's best for the organization. Girardi was ripped royally for failing to challenge a ruling on the field that Lonnie…

Bisons and Baseball

CLEVELAND – Once there was a time in which the Yankees, with their limitless resources and disregard for payroll, were the buyers in the open market while teams like the Indians developed prospects in their system and picked up free-agent scraps when they could find them. The Yankees have changed their thinking but so, too, have the Indians, which made for an interestin…

Bisons and Baseball

CLEVELAND – If there was a challenging decision standing before Terry Francona while the Indians coasted to the best record in the American League and into the playoffs, it came this week when he directed his attention toward the mound before Game One against the Yankees in the division series on Thursday night. Let me remind you that Francona has been among baseball's …

Sports

Through Friday's games. Last week's ranking in parentheses. 1. Cleveland Indians.  Join 1954 and 1995 teams in winning 100+. First two lost World Series. (1) 2. Los Angeles Dodgers.  Went 10-6 after ending 11-game losing streak. (2) 3. Houston Astros.  Behind red-hot Verlander (5-0, 1.06), gave MLB a first since '03 by becoming third 100-win team. (3) 4. Washin…

Sports

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Yankees are one loss or a Boston win from falling into the American League wild-card game. They would play it at home on Tuesday against the surprising Twins. Here's what a longtime Yankees fan asked me for this week's Mailbag. It's an intriguing thought for Yankee fans who think the Pinstripers have a chance to make…

Sports

TORONTO -- There was one out in the top of the ninth inning Sunday and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons showed he understood how to make great theater. With two outs left in the home finale of a disappointing Blue Jays season, Gibbons had Ezequiel Carerra trot out of the third-base dugout toward right field. It was time for Jose Bautista to head off the Rogers Centre turf…

Sports

TORONTO -- Rebuild and contend in the same year. It's usually a foolish thing to try. It's viewed by most as staying down the middle without making a real decision. But it's exactly what the New York Yankees did this year. Lo and behold, they got it right. The Yankees are going to the postseason, no small accomplishment given all they've endured this season. Saturday…