In honor of Major League Baseball’s opening day, here are a few Bills connections to the American pastime.
1. Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon began his career as a baseball executive with the Rochester Red Wings (then Triple A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles). He was inducted into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame in 2013. Brandon also worked in the front office of the Florida Marlins where he won a World Series ring in 1997 (check out the photo).
2. Head coach Doug Marrone is a lifelong New York Yankees fan – his grandfather even worked as an usher in Yankees Stadium. Marrone has been a lifelong friend of current Yankees play-by-play broadcaster Michael Kay – the two grew up together in Throggs Neck. While coaching at his alma mater, Marrone led Syracuse University to two New Era Pinstripe Bowl title at Yankees Stadium in 2010 and 2012. In 2010, Marrone spoke to George Vesey of the NY Times about his first experience coaching in Yankees Stadium.
3. In 1989, the Buffalo Bills drafted a cornerback from University of Richmond named Brian Jordan. Jordan was cut during training camp of the same year. Jordan played baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system and football for the Atlanta Falcons from 1989 – 1991. He made his Major League Baseball debut in April 1992 with the Cardinals and played a total of 15 years for the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, LA Dodgers and Texas Rangers. He was named an All-Star in 1999 with the Braves. Currently, Jordan is a pre-game analyst for Braves Live on FSN South.
4. Kyle Williams has been a frequent visitor to Rogers Centre to participate in batting practice with the Toronto Blue Jays. He participated in May 2012 along with Scott Chandler, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Donald Jones prior to a Toronto Blue Jays-Baltimore Orioles game. He also participated in June 2010 with Lee Evans and Jairus Byrd where he also had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch. In June 2013, EJ Manuel, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Jeff Tuel took part in batting practice in Rogers Centre as well.5. General Manager Doug Whaley is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa and has been a season ticket holder for the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2000.
6. Kiko Alonso’s older brother, Carlos Jr. was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. He played for the Phillies’ Single A affiliate in Clearwater in 2012 and 2013.
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