And the long wait is over. Carrot is the replacement for Celery at Coca-Cola Field. Or is it?
Carrot made its debut Thursday afternoon in the Buffalo Bisons' home opener as part of the popular WCC Race. Carrot was introduced in the middle of the fourth inning.
But during the race at the end of the fifth inning, Beef on Weck came out of nowhere to win the first race of the season. That's right, two new mascots will be part of the WCC race this season.
"It was an incredible moment for me, and I am so grateful to the Bisons and Celery for giving me this chance," Carrot said in an email interview with The Buffalo News. "When you’re just a little baby carrot, you dream of a day like this. For it to be real now, it’s an incredible feeling."
Carrot talked about the challenges filling the shoes of Celery, and the vegetable is ready to take its place on the racing circuit.
"It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s also a great opportunity," Carrot said. "Celery’s victory last year was such a momentous event for the vegetable community. I still remember sitting in the crisper with all my friends cheering Celery on in that final race. To be able to keep that legacy and momentum going is a great opportunity for me."
Beef on Weck, however, refused to speak to the media after winning the first race. It displayed a salty attitude post-race on Twitter, though, taunting the other races by saying "That's right Bisons Carrot an the rest of you chickens ... DEAL WITH IT! 1 race down, 1 victory for BEEF ON WECK!"
That's right @BisonsCarrot and the rest of you chickens....DEAL WITH IT!
1 race down, 1 victory for BEEF ON WECK! https://t.co/XyTD89FVgk
— Bisons Beef on Weck (@BisonsBeefWeck) April 12, 2018
It was the second-last game of the season last year when Celery broke its 449-race losing streak which stretched over seven seasons, with its first, and only, win.
Celery, which will still be at the ballpark this season, just not racing, had some advice for Carrot.
"You know, Carrot and I have a very similar background, so I know it will do a tremendous job," Celery said. "In our training, I just told Carrot to give it your all and the great Bisons fans will get behind you like how they supported me for so many years."
The WCC Race began in 2011 and Chicken Wing has created a dynasty. Chicken Wing won the opening campaign with 41 race wins, a single-season record that still stands.
Atomic Wing joined the competition in 2012, but Chicken Wing won a second-straight race series title.
In 2013, Blue Cheese mounted a late-season run to claim the season title and snap Chicken Wing's championship run.
The title went back to Chicken Wing in 2014 along with the honor of becoming the first mascot to reach 100 career wins. Chicken Wing officially claimed dynasty status with another championship in 2015.
The 2016 season saw several upheavals in the beloved ballpark race. Atomic Wing had an 18-game win streak but then received a three-race suspension after being found to have used an "illegal condiment" – a special hot sauce that gave Atomic Wing an unfair advantage.
After Chicken Wing rebounded to take the series for the third straight year, Celery announced 2017 would be the stalk's final year of racing. Celery went out victorious.