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Celery prepares for last WCC Race at Coca-Cola Field

It's the most anticipated night in Coca-Cola Field history since May of 2010 when Stephen Strasburg pitched his final minor league game before getting called up to the Washington Nationals.

The park was buzzing as Strasburg made the start for the Syracuse Chiefs against the Buffalo Bisons.

The park will be buzzing again on Wednesday, but this time for Celery's last race.

Yes. Anticipation for the beloved vegetable's last time running in the WCC Race is as a big a deal to the fans who will pack Coca-Cola Field as was watching one of the biggest prospects, and most hyped draft choices, in recent baseball history.

So buckle in for Celery's last hurrah as part of the 30th anniversary celebration Wednesday night when the Buffalo Bisons host the Pawtucket Red Sox. The WCC race will take place after the game.

It was last year, in the last race of the season, when Celery made the shocking retirement announcement.

Now, after a 2017 retirement tour, the day of the last race has come. Will Celery be able to get just one win?

Celery enters the race with an 0-449 record, often finishing last among Chicken Wing, Atomic Wing, and Blue Cheese.

Buffalo Bisons mascot Celery reflects on upcoming retirement from popular racing circuit

But there's no animosity between Celery and the rest of the field.

"Well, we're all competitors and competition makes you better," Celery told the Buffalo News in an email interview earlier this month. "I respect Chicken Wing and Atomic, because for years, they've made me want to be a better racer. I'm not going to say I love their saucy demeanors, but I respect them."

There is plenty of support for Celery, who has come to embody the spirit of the Buffalo sports fan -- always trying but never quite getting that one signature win.

Bisons manager Bobby Meacham has had plenty of opportunities to work with players in slumps. He has some simple advice for Celery's last race:

"Celery, it's never too late to be a winner. Never. So never give up," Meacham said. "You're sticking with it every time, you're putting your neck on the line and losing and losing but you never know. It just takes that one day to become a winner."

"I think my advice would be to continue to do what you've done," Bisons General Manager Mike Buczkowski said. "Give your best. Winning isn't everything. It's great. Everyone loves to win but sometimes there's a lot of lessons to be learned from going out and competing."

That's exactly what Celery will do Wednesday night, trying to get just one win. Celery plans to be at the ballpark for Thursday's Fan Appreciation Night, signing autographs for the fans and enjoying the WCC race as a spectator.

The interaction with fans and the camaraderie with the competitors is what makes being part of the Bisons family so special for Celery.

"While it can get a bit heated on the field, I also cherish the time all the racers spend off the field, meeting with fans and spending time at various Kids Club events and charitable efforts," Celery said. "Don't let Wing fool you, once you peel back that sometimes fried, crunchy outer layer, Wing can be a softy!"

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