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Bisons provide glimpse of new items as Opening Day nears

The temperature may have been below freezing on Monday, but the Buffalo Bisons are only 10 days away from Opening Day.

Get your hot chocolate ready. It’s time for baseball season, and with the new season comes improvements to Coca-Cola Field.

“The fan experience is paramount to what we do,” said Bisons general manager Mike Buczkowski. “There are some things you don’t control as a Triple-A team. One is weather, obviously, and one is players. We have to make sure that the ballpark is clean, safe, fun. That it’s fresh every year.”

The highlight of offseason renovations is the 120-speaker distributed sound system. Gone will be the delay and echo of the old speakers in the ballpark. The new system will provide crisp and even music and announcements throughout the park.

The previous speaker system, exposed to the weather elements for 26 years, was located in the center field scoreboard. The new system has 117 speakers around the seating bowl at Coca-Cola Field and fans will notice an immediate difference in the sound quality.

Also new will be full video LED message boards along the first and third-base sides that will provide game and promotional information.

“I saw a stat the other day that since this ballpark opened there have been 125 new minor league ballparks that have opened since this one did in 1988,” Buczkowski. “We’ve gone in 27 years from being the newest to one of the oldest. It’s important to keep the place updated and state of the art. Our relationship between the city and the county and the Bisons has been great and I think that’s why this continues to be one of the model ballparks.”

New food and drink options will be available this season throughout the ballpark.

Concession stands will now offer mini tacos which will be served with a side of salsa, loaded baked potato bites or mac n’ cheese.

Pettibones Grille added new menu items as well, including braised short ribs, sesame chicken skewers and the option to have traditional slider burgers served on a pretzel roll. Also making its debut will be po’ boy fish sandwiches and a turkey sandwich on cinnamon bread with caramelized apple and maple glaze.

New offerings in the club-level suits include crab cakes and MU dessert cordials. Also new this year is the themed champions suite. Located on third base side near section 213, the renovated suit will honor the past Buffalo Bisons title-winning teams.

On the beverage side, the Bisons Wine Cart has been expanded for this season and Hamburg Brewing Company has been added to the craft beer corner.

Starting on May 2, Coca-Cola Field’s fridaynightbash will open the gates at 5 p.m. to offer craft beers for $3 from 5-6:30 p.m. Happy hour beers include selections from Flying Bison, Hamburg Brewing Company, Rohrbach, Ithaca Brewing Co., and Great Lakes.