I Hate the Bisons
Thirteen International League teams come to play series in Norfolk every season. Ten – the six teams in the IL North Division and the four teams in the IL West Division – currently visit for one four-game series. The other three – the Tides’ fellow residents in the IL South Division – make three or four visits, playing a total of ten or eleven games in Norfolk.
There are some visiting teams I look forward to seeing more than others. I like to see Durham, the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Rochester, the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, because they usually have several exciting prospects. I like to see Louisville, the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, because I lived in Cincinnati for three years and I still follow them. I’m neutral about most of the rest of the teams, but there are two teams I really hate now – the Buffalo Bisons and the Gwinnett Braves. I’ll post why I hate Gwinnett when the G-Braves come back, but today is devoted to the Buffalo Bisons.
From 1969 through 2006, the Tides were the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets. During most of the fourteen seasons that I lived here and the Tides were the AAA Mets’ affiliate, the Mets were an absolutely horrible partner. They would routinely shuffle players in and out of Norfolk with little regard for how they would affect the Tides; they would trade AAA veterans away from Norfolk even if they were key players; and they would almost always trade their interesting minor-league players away before they got to Norfolk. Essentially, the Mets were an arrogant organization, assuming that the Tides should consider themselves lucky to be affiliated with the Mets. This tendency hit rock bottom in 2006, when the struggling Tides asked the Mets to provide them with better AAA veterans, and the Mets presented them with the 40-year-old Jose Offerman. After that season, the Tides explored an affiliation with another team, and the Mets didn’t care until they realized that a PCL team was their only other option. Then the Mets pulled out all the stops to stay with Norfolk. After the Tides affiliated with the Orioles, the Mets lied and said they preferred New Orleans all along. After two years in New Orleans, the Mets affiliated with Buffalo. And, lo and behold, the Mets suddenly signed top AAA free agents for the Buffalo team. As a result of all this (and 1969), I hate the Mets, and therefore I hate Buffalo – at least as long as the Mets are their parent club.
Buffalo is making their annual visit to Harbor Park this weekend. Although I can’t overtly cheer for the Tides or against their opponents, I’ll be gladder when the Tides beat Buffalo than when they beat almost anyone else.