Mark your calendars. Nearly two years after their last game downtown, the Buffalo Bisons will be back at Sahlen Field on Aug. 10.
The Herd made it official Monday morning, confirming the expected date of their return to Buffalo from their season-long stay in Trenton, N.J., that was first reported by The Buffalo News on Friday. They will play the Rochester Red Wings at 7:05 p.m. in the opener of a six-game series.
While announcing its restart date in Buffalo, the team also said tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. July 26. Bisons season-ticket holders and fans with existing ticket credits from the 2019 season will receive direct communication from the team on options for applying those credits to 2021 games.
Most of the details of the return home, including tickets, game times, promotions and ballpark policies, are expected to be unveiled next week. The Bisons' last game in Buffalo was a 7-6 loss to Rochester on Aug. 29, 2019, played before a Fan Appreciation Night crowd of 14,354.
The parent Toronto Blue Jays finish their run at Sahlen Field on Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox and play their first game in Rogers Centre since 2019 on July 30 against Kansas City. Tickets remain available for the Boston series at bluejays.com/tickets.
All teams will play five home games and five road games from Sept. 22-Oct. 3.
"The Buffalo Bisons organization is extremely grateful to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Trenton Thunder organizations for their ongoing support and unparalleled teamwork and cooperation during this extraordinary season," the Herd said in a statement Monday.
The club did not play in 2020 because the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the minor-league season and left Buffalo without a team of its own for the first time since 1978. The parent Blue Jays played 26 home games at Sahlen Field last August and September with no fans in the ballpark.
The Blue Jays returned this year and will be leaving after Wednesday night's game against Boston. Their departure leaves time for the Bisons to have 23 home games this season in Buffalo.
In addition to the Rochester series that runs from Aug. 10-15, the Herd will host six-gamers against Worcester (Aug. 24-29) and Syracuse (Sept. 7-12) as part of their regular season, and a five-game set against Lehigh Valley (Sept. 22-26) as part of the "Triple-A Final Stretch" tournament announced last week by Major League Baseball. That tournament and the season ends for the Herd with five games in Syracuse from Sept. 29-Oct. 3.
The message you get from the Toronto Blue Jays is consistent: No offense, Buffalo, but it's time to go home.
Once the Blue Jays leave, the Bisons will have just under three weeks to get moving on the conversion work they need to accomplish to have the stadium ready for their use.
Much of the ballpark signage and branding needs to return back to the Bisons from the Blue Jays. The temporary structure housing MLB visiting teams and umpires in the Exchange Street parking lot will be removed, and the former Bisons clubhouse on the ballpark service level will be converted to a visiting team Triple-A clubhouse. The Bisons will be getting the new larger third-base clubhouse that has been used this season by the Blue Jays.
Managed by popular former Buffalo utility man Casey Candaele, the Bisons are 38-25 and have gone 23-13 in Trenton. They are second in the Northeast Division of Triple-A East, 3½ games behind the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders. The Bisons have the fifth-best winning percentage of the 20 Triple-A East teams at .603.
The Bisons are off Monday after posting a 5-1 record in their most recent series, against Lehigh Valley in Trenton. The teams split a doubleheader Sunday, with the IronPigs completing a 12-2 win in the opener to wrap up a game suspended by rain Saturday. Buffalo came back to take the nightcap, 4-0, as shortstop Kevin Smith and first baseman Tyler White each belted two-run homers and five pitchers combined on a four-hitter with nine strikeouts. Smith has a team-high 15 home runs.
The Bisons open a six-game series in Trenton vs. Syracuse on Tuesday night. The Mets have the worst record in Triple-A East at 23-42 and are 4-8 against Buffalo. It will be Buffalo's last series in New Jersey, where it has posted a 23-13 record. Before returning home, the Bisons have a 12-game road trip at Worcester (July 27-Aug. 1) and Lehigh Valley (Aug. 3-8).