Little girls had their hair pulled back into a pair of buns, in the style of Princess Leia, while little boys wore brown robes in the style of the Jedi fighter.
You could even buy cotton candy from a Darth Vader vendor roaming the stands.
It was the seventh annual Star Wars Night at Coca-Cola Field, an event which has grown into a sellout game for the Buffalo Bisons every year.
This year a picture of Darth Vader was painted in the grass behind home plate. Special memorabilia includes T-shirts and laser swords (not called light sabres because of copyright issues) for sale along with opportunities to meet Star Wars characters.
Throughout the game, characters act out pre-recorded scenes for a new episode in the battle between the Jedi Knights and the Dark Side ending with an on-field scene after the game, all capped off by fireworks.
It’s a busy night for spectators who are keeping track of the Jedi storyline and (possibly) watching a baseball game as well.
For the players, it’s one of the best nights of the year for two reasons. First, they get to play in front of a packed stadium and that energy, regardless of what drew them into the stadium, is cherished.
“It’s awesome playing in front of a good crowd anytime. No matter home or away, when you pack the stands it’s fun,” said Bisons’ infielder Ryan Goins who was with the team last year. “Just having people there. They’re going to watch the game, they’re going to get excited, so it’s fun all around.”
“I think it just feels good to have people around, getting that buzz kind of fires us up,” Bisons’ catcher Mike Nickeas said. “We need less coffee on days like that. But we’re going about our business the same way we typically do, but it’s definitely fun having people here.”
And the second reason it’s fun is because those people are often dressed in costume.
“It is amazing to me. I like Star Wars like the rest of us but not to the extent that I see so many people out in costume and running around with their sabers and every thing,” Nickeas said. “It’s crazy, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s fun to crowd watch on nights like that. People are tremendously creative around here when it comes to Star Wars.”
Goins isn’t a die-hard Star Wars fan either.
“I mean I’ve watched the movies. I don’t even know which ones I’ve seen and which ones I haven’t,” Goins said.
But you know who is a huge Star Wars fan? Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey. In fact, the Bisons still send him one of the special jerseys worn by the players as part of the promotion. This year, he’ll be getting an R2D2 themed jersey to add to his collection.
The homestand concludes today against Syracuse (1:05 p.m., Radio 1520, TWC) with righty Liam Hendriks scheduled to start for the Herd. Hendriks is 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA for the Bisons. Syracuse will counter with righty Taylor Hill (8-1, 1.57).