SHUFFLING OFF TO BUFFALO

     After Tuesdays’ 12-0 whupping at the hands of Lehigh Valley, the PawSox head to Buffalo New York for their first road trip of the season.  It’s a good trip, but one of us is REALLY looking forward to getting there.  Manager Torey Lovullo considers the city his “home away from home.”  Lovullo excelled as both a player and manager in the city of Buffalo.  He met his wife, Kristen there and as you can imagine, the place holds a special place in his heart. “My dad was born and raised there.  My family, my wifes’ family…It’s like I’m going home for the next three days.”  Despite the fact that he has  many friends and relatives in the city, Torey will stay with his ballclub in our team hotel.  “I really love my in-laws and all my friends, but I have to focus on the job at hand.  I need my space.  That being said, it will be really nice to see everybody.  It’s also kind of strange for me to stay in a hotel in Buffalo” 

     Other than visits with close ones, Torey says there are a couple of essential stops he has to make.  One is a pilgrimage to “Chefs” Italian restaurant.  You’ve read about that place here in this space before.  A terrific stop on the International League Chuck Wagon Tour.  Torey also mentioned a hot dog stand named “Teds'”.  I suspect I’ll give it a try.

     Although he’s not sure just who his friends will be rooting for, Lovullo already has fielded some 35 ticket requests for game one of the series (Wednesday afternoon at 3:05).  One man he’s sure he’ll see is Bisons’ superfan, Mark.  An extremely boisterous fan, Mark sits behind homeplate and taunts visiting players and staff.  Torey says he’s not concerned.  “Mark and I became very good friends while I was in Buffalo.  He’s very close with my wife.  I don’t think he’ll try to get on me.”  Mark is visually impaired and has some difficulty communicating verbally.  That’s no problem for Lovullo.  “We’ve had lunches together, dinners together.  I can speak “Mark”.  He’s a really sweet guy who loves baseball and the Bisons.”  One of his trademark moves is to point to one of his underarms then point to an opposing player and shout “You stink.”   It’s always good for a laugh.  Torey says that’s only one side of Mark.  “He’s had a tough go of it, but he has a good heart.  He works in the community.  I look forward to seeing him.”

     Lovullo adds that he also looks forward to seeing the front office memebrs in Buffalo who worked with him for so many years.  “It’s gonna be great.  I can’t wait.” 

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