Gary Allenson stepped out to accept his gift from the Buffalo Bisons booster club and noted to the crowd that he didn’t have any competition for the favorite manager.
It’s part of Allenson’s trademark dry wit. Mention something negative – like shutouts or one-run losses and he’ll respond with “Gee, I hadn’t noticed” or “Thanks for reminding me.”
His second season managing the Herd is entering its final days and he closed out his Coca-Cola Field season on Wednesday night.
Will Allenson be back for a third season with the Herd? The Toronto Blue Jays structure their contracts to expire Dec. 31, so decisions aren’t immediately forthcoming, but Allenson is open to coming back to Buffalo.
“Like I always say I’m on a multi-monthly contract. So whatever,” Allenson said. “If they want me back, that’s fine. I’d rather be in the big leagues but it is what is. I don’t worry about that stuff anymore. I’ve gotten to that age where I don’t worry about it. Whatever happens.
“I enjoy here. I have a good time. Front office people are great. I wish we could do without all the moves but that’s part of the game nowadays. I don’t know who’s on my club half the time or how many guys I have whether it’s 25, 24 sometimes it’s 23. Writing a name down that shouldn’t be written down. It gets a little hectic at times but yeah, if they want me back, I’d like to come back.”
This was the 10th season in the IL for Allenson who also managed in Louisville (1998-99), Ottawa (2003) and Norfolk (2007-11). His record as skipper of the Bisons is now 144-138.
“You’ve just got to stay positive if you can and it’s tough sometimes,” Allenson said about his role as a Triple-A manager along with his coaching staff. “We don’t play anymore. As a player, winning a close game or maybe we were losing, it didn’t bother me as much as they do now when you’re sitting there watching, waiting for something to happen offensively or hold the team defensively. Right now we’re just in a bad rut.”
The Herd struggled the last two and half weeks, going 3-13 in their last 16 games and closed their home season with a 1-6 homestand.
The Herd finished with a 34-38 record at Coca-Cola Field. The crowd for the finale was 15,333, the 15th game since July 1 of a crowd of more than 10,000. That brought the season total to 551,303 fans – the most at the downtown ballpark since 2010.
The Bisons averaged 8,228 per game, the second best average attendance since 2008. The Herd drew 8,273 a game in 2013, the first year of the affiliation, rebounding from the all-time Coca-Cola Field low of 7,655 in 2012, the last year of the Mets affiliation.
For Matt Hague, the IL MVP playing his first full season with the Bisons, the fans have been an important part of his experience in Buffalo.
“Throughout the whole season there really hasn’t been a game where there’s been no one in the stands. I think it’s a blast playing in front of the fans here. They offer a lot of support.
“Especially the Star Wars, the games we have for the soldiers, breast cancer, all that stuff gives an extra little kick for a player because those nights are special to a lot of people. The promotional stuff, those are always fun nights to play baseball.”