Two of the Buffalo Bisons' big traditions will run together next season, as the club announced Thursday that its 2020 home opener will be a Friday night game for the first time in 12 years.
The Bisons open the season on an eight-game road trip with four games in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starting on April 9 followed by four in Pawtucket. They then return to Sahlen Field to meet the Rochester Red Wings on April 17 for a 6:05 p.m. game.
It will be just the fourth time in the ballpark's 33 seasons and the first time since 2008 that Buffalo will have a scheduled home opener on a Friday.
The April 17 date equals the latest scheduled date in franchise history, last played in 1991 against Denver. The '92 home opener against Oklahoma City was also on April 17 but that came on the day after a rainout. This year's home opener, an 8-3 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, came on April 4 and Buffalo has twice opened at home on April 3 (in 2003 on a 29-degree day and 2014).
The team will announce the bulk of its promotional schedule early next year, but has already slated its 13th annual Star Wars Night for Saturday, June 6 against Indianapolis and its sixth annual Superhero Night for Aug. 15 against Columbus. The 26th annual Independence Eve Celebration with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is on a Friday next year, July 3 against Syracuse. School Kids Day will be a 10:35 a.m. start against Scranton on May 28.
The Bisons have finalized game times for next season, with night games in April and May at 6:05 (except for Friday, May 15 at 7:05) and day games throughout the season at 1:05. Night games transition to 7:05 starting in June, with all summer Saturday night games at 6:05.
The club has also announced no price increase on season tickets for the third straight season. Season tickets, membership packs and party areas for next season can be booked starting Oct. 1 at Bisons.com or by calling 843-HERD.
The season concludes with an eight-game road trip from Aug. 31-Sept. 7. Buffalo's series at Pawtucket on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1-2 will be its final trip to McCoy Stadium. The Boston affiliate is slated to move to a new ballpark in Worcester, Mass., in 2021. The full 2020 schedule is as follows:
APRIL: 9-12, at Scranton-WB; 13-16, at Pawtucket; 17-19, Rochester; 20-22, Scranton-WB; 24-26, at Rochester; 27-30, at Durham
MAY: 1-3, Louisville; 5-7, at Indianapolis; 8-10, at Louisville; 11-14, Pawtucket; 17-18, Lehigh Valley; 19-21, at Scranton-WB; 22-25, at Lehigh Valley; 26-28, Scranton-WB; 29-31, at Rochester
JUNE: 2-4, Norfolk; 5-7, Indianapolis; 9-11, at Norfolk; 12-14, at Durham; 15-17, Scranton-WB; 18-21, Pawtucket; 24-26, at Lehigh Valley; 26-28, at Pawtucket; 29-30, Lehigh Valley
JULY: 1, Lehigh Valley; 2-3, Syracuse; 4-6, at Syracuse; 7-9, at Scranton-WB; 10-12, Rochester; 16-19, Syracuse; 20-23, at Columbus; 24-26, at Toledo; 28-30, Gwinnett; 31, Toledo
AUGUST: 1-2, Toledo; 3-5, Rochester; 6, at Rochester (one-game series); 7-8-9, at Syracuse; 10-13, Charlotte; 14-16, Columbus; 18-20, at Charlotte; 21-23, at Gwinnett; 25-27, Lehigh Valley; 28-30, Rochester; 31, at Pawtucket
SEPTEMBER: 1-2, at Pawtucket; 3-4, at Syracuse; 5-7, at Rochester