Now that they're an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Buffalo Bisons are ditching their New York Mets-style logo and uniforms. But don't expect birds and maple leafs on the new duds.
General Manager Mike Buczkowski said the team wants to have a Bisons-centric approach when it unveils its new look. He said the club is hoping to fast-track a new logo by mid-November so it's available for the holidays - and so the business can rebrand items such as letterhead and business cards. New uniforms will likely be unveiled at a public luncheon in January.
"We started this week with a graphic designer and went through a wish list," Buczkowski said. "Next week we'll start with real ideas. We want something that will be a Buffalo Bisons identity. We want to have someone who is not in Buffalo say, 'Who is your affilate?' We want to have that identity."
That's no slight to the Blue Jays. Most minor-league teams have gotten away from the parent-club look.
Buczkowski said the Bisons have had loose conversations with the Blue Jays about an exhibition game in Buffalo on Sunday, March 31. The Blue Jays have spring training games in Philadelphia against the Phillies on March 29-30, and March 31 is currently open. They begin the 2013 regular season April 2 in the Rogers Centre against Cleveland.
The CBA between players and owners outlawed in-season exhibitions several years ago and they are no longer held (the Bisons' last one against Cleveland was in 2002). What is allowed are exhibitions at the end of spring training.
Buczkowski also said the Bisons and Blue Jays have also talked about a Jays game against another major-league team on the March 31 date being held in Buffalo. Either proposition, however, is risky because of Buffalo weather. The Bisons have not staged a major-league exhibition game in Buffalo since the Blue Jays met Cleveland in 1987 at War Memorial Stadium, less than 48 hours after 11 inches of snow fell.
Will Marty Brown be returning to Buffalo?
Brown, who managed the Bisons from 2003-2005 and won the International League Manager of the Year Award in 2004 as the Bisons took the Governors' Cup, has been the manager at Las Vegas the last two years. But the Blue Jays aren't ready to announce positions for next season.
"I'd love to tell you who our manager, who our staff are going to be, I just can't get there today," said Charlie Wilson, the Blue Jays' director of minor league operations. "We're in the process of submitting our budget and doing all our assignments. Obviously we'll want to have a first-class coaching staff here led by a great manager. "
"They know our feeling about Marty and they told me they love the job he did in Vegas," Buczkowski said.
Aside from the obvious geographic differences of being in Buffalo rather than shuttling players in and out of Las Vegas or other Pacific Coast League cities, Wilson said there are other advantages to the new affiliation.
"We're back in the east and the weather outside in Buffalo is going to be the same as the weather in New York, Boston and Baltimore in April and May," Wilson said. "So that part is a huge factor.
"The other part is that we'll have an opportunity to send our senior scouts and front office people down to Buffalo so we'll have more people evaluating. We'll have a better base and have the finger on the pulse, so to speak, of our Triple-A team.
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