Park # 112
What I Remember
I remember a lot about the activities of 30 years ago tonight and I am probably forgetting just as much. In roughly chronological order, I remember pulling into the parking lot at Pilot Field and having a member of the team’s front office ask for our car keys; he was going to take the minivan out to get washed. Soon after, I remember being given a tour of the stadium by the man who is today, I think, the President of the Buffalo Bisons. I remember that there were several members of the media there to talk with Sue and me and a photographer from the New York Times there to take our picture.
I remember we threw out the first pitch but that before we even stepped on the field, the team’s staff produced a pair of Bisons jerseys for us, each with our own name on the back. I remember taking part in an on-field promotion called the Pizza Hut pop up and catching a pair of outfield flies that won a pizza for everyone in the crowd and, for me, the loudest ovation I have ever received for anything. Once we had sat in our seats, in the owner’s box next to the first base dugout, I remember Mike Billoni, the team’s General Manager then, opening up a bottle of Taittinger Champagne and pouring us each a glass. A few minutes later I remember a chef, wearing the full white outfit, walking down to our seats with two silver covered platters of perfectly cooked prime rib and baked potatoes. You think I am making this up but next week I will show you the video.
I also remember chatting with a local reporter who had tracked us down at the campsite we were staying at on Lake Ontario and asked to spend some time with us that evening. The feature story he wrote, which we later got in the mail, was one of most touching articles written about us that summer. He was a kindred spirit and had hoped to do a trip like ours some day. The article is in the gallery below.
There was so much to remember from our evening at Pilot Field in Buffalo it became the subject of nearly an entire chapter of the book I am writing. I won’t publish it all here now but this is the way that the current draft of “Chapter 7 – Hey, Bill & Sue!” ends.
With our minivan freshly washed and loaded down with enough Rich’s food products to keep us in baked goods for the rest of the season, we drove back to our campsite that Thursday night and left the Buffalo area the next day. Our trip would never be quite the same. Many, if not most, of the teams we would come across for the rest of the season went far out of their way to be accommodating to us and we were always grateful. There were many great memories still to come, but there would (and could) be no other night, quite like that one at Pilot Field. Our journey, though I don’t think we realized it at the time, had reached its zenith and as we turned west again at the end of July we began a long and glorious road back down to earth.
Buffalo Bisons 4 Omaha Royals 0