Sunday, April 22, 2007

Our weekly series on cool media folks - Meet Kevin Lester

If there's one guy who has been an indelible part of downtown Buffalo's ballpark, it is Bisons Official Scorer Kevin Lester.

Kevin has been around the team throughout pretty much its entire modern era, even going back to the days at the Old Rockpile. For years he served in uniform as the team's bullpen catcher, appeared in a cameo role in the movie "The Natural", and for over a decade now he has held the post of "Official Scorer". Actually working for the League and not the team, his job is to keep official track and record of the entire game. He sits in the second tier of the pressbox, inches away from the in-pressbox PA system which he coordinates.

One of his toughest jobs is making the call between a "hit" and an "error". Kevin can regale you with countless stories of players and managers who have called on him and confronted him after a game to question his decision, some of the exchanges becoming quite heated. "It's all part of the job" Kevin laughs.

One more thing we've got to say about Kevin... there is no bigger die-hard Yankees fan than he is. He lives and dies with the fortunes of his beloved Bronx Bombers, and while the Bisons game is in progress, he is regularly on the phone between innings, getting game updates from his family back home, who are as equally crazed as he is.

A cool pressbox tradition takes place when a pitcher in the game...home or visiting team, craps out with a horrendous performance. As the pitcher departs the field, Kevin Lester will announce the line, something like "2 2/3 innings pitched, 9 hits, 8 runs, all earned, 5 walks, 3 wild pitches" across the PA, and the report will prompt a round of applause from the media contingent.

Kevin appreciates that applause. He feeds on it. And while we're at it, we also want to give him a round of applause, just for being a great baseball guy and a good friend. "CHOI!"

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